The same week Twitter came under withering fire from Republicans and others over allegations the social platform was “shadow-banning” some conservative users, Twitter received another gut punch, this time from Wall Street.
As the platform has focused on “cleaning up” its user base, Twitter is enjoying fewer active monthly users than expected, and that has the company’s stock price falling. Twitter told concerned investors that the company expected some of this to happen as they focus their attention on “purging automated and spam accounts…” in an effort to eliminate or reduce “hate speech” and “other abusive content.”
Twitter maintains that it’s better to focus on these activities now, rather than taking action to continue to increase monthly users. This is not an unexpected choice, as Twitter has been under intense pressure from both lawmakers and users to make the user experience better and limit the amount of both “fake news” and “abusive” content on the platform.
Twitter does have to plant a flag somewhere. They have to prioritize the many issues the platform is facing, and it’s not really surprising the company has chosen to work on eliminating rogue accounts before bringing in new legitimate users. The spam accounts, fake accounts, and bad actors are one of the reasons Twitter hasn’t been growing like the company wishes it would.
Unfortunately, that rationale is not making it very high into the news stories about all this. The headlines are trumpeting the drop in stock price in both national and international headlines, leaving Twitter to respond to the messaging rather than creating it.
A headline the platform would much rather see, and one they would much rather share with stockholders, is that Twitter received higher-than-expected revenue through the weeks of the FIFA World Cup, thanks to advertising.
So, there’s certainly some good news to share, and it’s up to Twitter to get that message out there. They could be talking up the revenue increase as well as their efforts to make the user experience a better one, while, privately, finding a way to reassure nervous investors that the loss in share price is only a temporary dip while they attend to a nagging issue that will only get worse if they continue to let it fester.
That could be a message that sells well. After all, if Twitter continues to be a target of spammers and dummy accounts, and if pundits on one side of the political divide continue to denigrate the platform, Twitter will need a positive message to counter the criticism.