Apr 23, 2019

Twitter's green shoots

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

No matter how much you've read about Twitter’s troubles, the platform is enjoying a burst of encouraging signs.

Driving the news: Twitter's Q1 numbers came in high today: 330 million monthly active users, 134 million visiting every day, and $787 million in revenue, beating analyst expectations.

Why it matters: When news happens, and when there's a major cultural event, Twitter is the second screen.

  • Twitter is building its key measurement around those spikes, focusing on daily active users, instead of monthly, and they're growing on that metric, particularly internationally.
  • But Twitter keeps getting criticized for brand safety during those spikes: Women and people of color face repeated harassment, fake news proliferates and the platform struggles to control propaganda and violence.

The big picture: Snapchat has more daily active users (186M). So does Instagram (500M for stories alone). And Facebook itself has 1.5 billion, The Verge notes.

  • That scale matters, especially for advertising.
  • It also matters for the future of Twitter. On the internet, at least, once you stop growing, you start shrinking.

Between the lines: "Twitter, which has a history of being slow to make changes to its service, has recently increased the pace of new product introductions," Bloomberg reports.

  • "Last month it opened access to its prototype app, called twttr, to test new ideas and get feedback."
  • "The company is also rolling out a Snapchat-like camera feature that lets users post videos or photos in a swipe."

P.S. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and President Trump met behind closed doors at the White House today, Motherboard first reported and a Twitter spokesperson confirmed.

"Jack had a constructive meeting with (POTUS) today at the president’s invitation. They discussed Twitter’s commitment to protecting the health of the public conversation ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections and efforts underway to respond to the opioid crisis."
— Twitter spokesperson

Go deeper

Updated 35 mins ago - Technology

Twitter: Trump's Minnesota tweet violated rules on violence

Twitter said Friday morning that a tweet from President Trump in which he threatened shooting in response to civil unrest in Minneapolis violated the company's rules. The company said it was leaving the tweet up in the public interest.

Why it matters: The move exacerbates tensions between Twitter and Trump over the company's authority to label or limit his speech and, conversely, the president's authority to dictate rules for a private company.

Updated 49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump threatens to "assume control" of Minneapolis over unrest

Flames from a nearby fire illuminate protesters standing on a barricade in front of the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis on Thursday. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump threatened via Twitter early Friday to send the national guard to Minneapolis following three days of massive demonstrations and unrest in the city over George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody this week.

Details: "I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right," Trump tweeted after a police station was torched by some protesters.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

Protesters cheer as the Third Police Precinct burns behind them on in Minneapolis on Thursday night. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Cheering protesters set a Minneapolis police station on fire Thursday night in the third night of unrest following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in the city, per AP.

The state of play: Minnesota's governor on Thursday activated the state's national guard following violent outbreaks throughout the week, as the nation waits to see if the officers involved will be charged with murder.