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Twitter

American microblogging service

Top 10 Twitter related articles

Twitter, Inc.
Screenshot
The default page shown to logged-out users
Type of businessPublic
Type of site
News, social networking service
Available inMultilingual
Traded as
FoundedMarch 21, 2006; 14 years ago (2006-03-21)
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, United States
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)
Key people
IndustryInternet
Revenue US$3.46 billion (2019)
Operating income US$453 million (2018)
Net income US$1.47 billion (2019)
Total assets US$10.16 billion (2018)
Total equity US$6.8 billion (2018)
Employees4,600 (September 2019)[2]
Subsidiaries
URLtwitter.com
Alexa rank 52 (Global, July 2020)[3]
RegistrationRequired
Users
  • 321 million active users
  • (February 2019)
LaunchedJuly 15, 2006; 14 years ago (2006-07-15)
Current statusActive
Written in
[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

Twitter (/ˈtwɪtər/) is an American microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as "tweets". Registered users can post, like, and retweet tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through its website interface, through Short Message Service (SMS) or its mobile-device application software ("app").[16] Twitter, Inc. is based in San Francisco, California, and has more than 25 offices around the world.[17] Tweets were originally restricted to 140 characters, but was doubled to 280 for non-CJK languages in November 2017.[18] Audio and video tweets remain limited to 140 seconds for most accounts.

Twitter was created by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams in March 2006 and launched in July of that year. By 2012, more than 100 million users posted 340 million tweets a day,[19] and the service handled an average of 1.6 billion search queries per day.[20][21][22] In 2013, it was one of the ten most-visited websites and has been described as "the SMS of the Internet".[23][24] As of 2018, Twitter had more than 321 million monthly active users.[12]

Twitter Intro articles: 4

History

Creation and initial reaction

A sketch, c. 2006, by Jack Dorsey, envisioning an SMS-based social network.

Twitter's origins lie in a "daylong brainstorming session" held by board members of the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, then an undergraduate student at New York University, introduced the idea of an individual using an SMS service to communicate with a small group.[25][26] The original project code name for the service was twttr, an idea that Williams later ascribed to Noah Glass,[27] inspired by Flickr and the five-character length of American SMS short codes. The decision was also partly due to the fact that the domain twitter.com was already in use, and it was six months after the launch of twttr that the crew purchased the domain and changed the name of the service to Twitter.[28] The developers initially considered "10958" as a short code, but later changed it to "40404" for "ease of use and memorability".[29] Work on the project started on March 21, 2006, when Dorsey published the first Twitter message at 9:50 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST): "just setting up my twttr".[4] Dorsey has explained the origin of the "Twitter" title:

...we came across the word 'twitter', and it was just perfect. The definition was 'a short burst of inconsequential information,' and 'chirps from birds'. And that's exactly what the product was.[30]

The first Twitter prototype, developed by Dorsey and contractor Florian Weber, was used as an internal service for Odeo employees[31] and the full version was introduced publicly on July 15, 2006.[13] In October 2006, Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Dorsey, and other members of Odeo formed Obvious Corporation and acquired Odeo, together with its assets — including Odeo.com and Twitter.com — from the investors and shareholders.[32] Williams fired Glass, who was silent about his part in Twitter's startup until 2011.[33] Twitter spun off into its own company in April 2007.[34] Williams provided insight into the ambiguity that defined this early period in a 2013 interview:

With Twitter, it wasn't clear what it was. They called it a social network, they called it microblogging, but it was hard to define, because it didn't replace anything. There was this path of discovery with something like that, where over time you figure out what it is. Twitter actually changed from what we thought it was in the beginning, which we described as status updates and a social utility. It is that, in part, but the insight we eventually came to was Twitter was really more of an information network than it is a social network.[35]

The tipping point for Twitter's popularity was the 2007 South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference. During the event, Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000.[36][37] "The Twitter people cleverly placed two 60-inch plasma screens in the conference hallways, exclusively streaming Twitter messages," remarked Newsweek's Steven Levy. "Hundreds of conference-goers kept tabs on each other via constant twitters. Panelists and speakers mentioned the service, and the bloggers in attendance touted it."[38] Reaction at the conference was highly positive. Blogger Scott Beale said that Twitter was "absolutely ruling" SXSWi. Social software researcher danah boyd said Twitter was "owning" the conference.[39] Twitter staff received the festival's Web Award prize with the remark "we'd like to thank you in 140 characters or less. And we just did!"[40]

The first unassisted off-Earth Twitter message was posted from the International Space Station by NASA astronaut T. J. Creamer on January 22, 2010.[41] By late November 2010, an average of a dozen updates per day were posted on the astronauts' communal account, @NASA_Astronauts. NASA has also hosted over 25 "tweetups", events that provide guests with VIP access to NASA facilities and speakers with the goal of leveraging participants' social networks to further the outreach goals of NASA. In August 2010, the company appointed Adam Bain from News Corp.'s Fox Audience Network as president of revenue.[42]

2007–2010

The company experienced rapid initial growth. It had 400,000 tweets posted per quarter in 2007. This grew to 100 million tweets posted per quarter in 2008. In February 2010, Twitter users were sending 50 million tweets per day.[43] By March 2010, the company recorded over 70,000 registered applications.[44] As of June 2010, about 65 million tweets were posted each day, equaling about 750 tweets sent each second, according to Twitter.[45] As of March 2011, that was about 140 million tweets posted daily.[46] As noted on Compete.com, Twitter moved up to the third-highest-ranking social networking site in January 2009 from its previous rank of twenty-second.[47]

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, in 2009

Twitter's usage spikes during prominent events. For example, a record was set during the 2010 FIFA World Cup when fans wrote 2,940 tweets per second in the thirty-second period after Japan scored against Cameroon on June 14. The record was broken again when 3,085 tweets per second were posted after the Los Angeles Lakers' victory in the 2010 NBA Finals on June 17,[48] and then again at the close of Japan's victory over Denmark in the World Cup when users published 3,283 tweets per second.[49] The record was set again during the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final between Japan and the United States, when 7,196 tweets per second were published.[50] When American singer Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, Twitter servers crashed after users were updating their status to include the words "Michael Jackson" at a rate of 100,000 tweets per hour.[51] The current record as of August 3, 2013 was set in Japan, with 143,199 tweets per second during a television screening of the movie Castle in the Sky[52] (beating the previous record of 33,388, also set by Japan for the television screening of the same movie).[53]

Twitter acquired application developer Atebits on April 11, 2010. Atebits had developed the Apple Design Award-winning Twitter client Tweetie for the Mac and iPhone. The application, now called "Twitter" and distributed free of charge, is the official Twitter client for the iPhone, iPad and Mac.[54]

From September through October 2010, the company began rolling out "New Twitter", an entirely revamped edition of twitter.com. Changes included the ability to see pictures and videos without leaving Twitter itself by clicking on individual tweets which contain links to images and clips from a variety of supported websites including YouTube and Flickr, and a complete overhaul of the interface, which shifted links such as '@mentions' and 'Retweets' above the Twitter stream, while 'Messages' and 'Log Out' became accessible via a black bar at the very top of twitter.com. As of November 1, 2010, the company confirmed that the "New Twitter experience" had been rolled out to all users. In 2019, Twitter was announced to be the 10th most downloaded mobile app of the decade, from 2010 to 2019.[55]

2011–2014

On April 5, 2011, Twitter tested a new homepage and phased out the "Old Twitter".[56] However, a glitch came about after the page was launched, so the previous "retro" homepage was still in use until the issues were resolved; the new homepage was reintroduced on April 20.[57][58] On December 8, 2011, Twitter overhauled its website once more to feature the "Fly" design, which the service says is easier for new users to follow and promotes advertising. In addition to the Home tab, the Connect and Discover tabs were introduced along with a redesigned profile and timeline of Tweets. The site's layout has been compared to that of Facebook.[59][60] On February 21, 2012, it was announced that Twitter and Yandex agreed to a partnership. Yandex, a Russian search engine, finds value within the partnership due to Twitter's real time news feeds. Twitter's director of business development explained that it is important to have Twitter content where Twitter users go.[61] On March 21, 2012, Twitter celebrated its sixth birthday while also announcing that it had 140 million users and 340 million tweets per day. The number of users was up 40% from their September 2011 number, which was said to have been at 100 million at the time.[62]

In April 2012, Twitter announced that it was opening an office in Detroit, with the aim of working with automotive brands and advertising agencies.[63] Twitter also expanded its office in Dublin.[64] On June 5, 2012, a modified logo was unveiled through the company blog, removing the text to showcase the slightly redesigned bird as the sole symbol of Twitter.[65][66] On October 5, 2012, Twitter acquired a video clip company called Vine that launched in January 2013.[67][68] Twitter released Vine as a standalone app that allows users to create and share six-second looping video clips on January 24, 2013. Vine videos shared on Twitter are visible directly in users' Twitter feeds.[69] Due to an influx of inappropriate content, it is now rated 17+ in Apple's[70] app store.[71] On December 18, 2012, Twitter announced it had surpassed 200 million monthly active users. Twitter hit 100 million monthly active users in September 2011.[72]

On January 28, 2013, Twitter acquired Crashlytics in order to build out its mobile developer products.[73]

On April 18, 2013, Twitter launched a music app called Twitter Music for the iPhone.[74] On August 28, 2013, Twitter acquired Trendrr,[75] followed by the acquisition of MoPub on September 9, 2013.[76] As of September 2013, the company's data showed that 200 million users sent over 400 million tweets daily, with nearly 60% of tweets sent from mobile devices.[77] On June 4, 2014, Twitter announced that it would acquire Namo Media, a technology firm specializing in "native advertising" for mobile devices.[78] On June 19, 2014, Twitter announced that it had reached an undisclosed deal to buy SnappyTV, a service that helps edit and share video from television broadcasts.[79][80] The company was helping broadcasters and rights holders to share video content both organically across social and via Twitter's Amplify program.[81] In July 2014, Twitter announced that it intended to buy a young company called CardSpring for an undisclosed sum. CardSpring enabled retailers to offer online shoppers coupons that they could automatically sync to their credit cards in order to receive discounts when they shopped in physical stores.[82] On July 31, 2014, Twitter announced that it had acquired a small password-security startup called Mitro.[83] On October 29, 2014, Twitter announced a new partnership with IBM. The partnership was intended to help businesses use Twitter data to understand their customers, businesses and other trends.[84]

2015–2016

On February 11, 2015, Twitter announced that it had acquired Niche, an advertising network for social media stars, founded by Rob Fishman and Darren Lachtman.[85] The acquisition price was reportedly $50 million.[86] On March 13, 2015, Twitter announced its acquisition of Periscope, an app that allows live streaming of video.[87] In April 2015, the Twitter.com desktop homepage changed.[88] Twitter announced that it had acquired TellApart, a commerce ads tech firm, with $532 million stock.[89][90] Later in the year it became apparent that growth had slowed, according to Fortune,[91] Business Insider,[92] Marketing Land[93] and other news websites including Quartz (in 2016).[94] In June 2016, Twitter acquired an artificial intelligence startup called Magic Pony for $150 million.[95][96]

2017–2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Twitter saw an increased use of the platform for misinformation related to the pandemic. Twitter announced in March 2020 that it will start marking tweets which may contain misleading information, in some cases it will provide links to pages of fact-checking information.[97]

Shortly afterwards United States President Donald Trump had used his Twitter account on May 26, 2020 to issue a statement related to possible fraud associated with mail-in voting ahead of the upcoming 2020 primary elections. Twitter moderators used the forementioned tools to mark Trump's tweets as "potentially misleading" and added linked to a dedicated page with additional articles from other news sources on mail-in voting, the first time they had marked Trump's tweets as such.[98] Trump, who had previously alleged Twitter, and other technology companies, have an anti-conservative bias,[99] announced his intention to enact regulations to take action against Twitter. Two days later, on May 28, 2020, Trump signed "Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship"[100] aimed to impact the protections of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which Twitter and other social media sites have to avoid liability for dealing with moderation of user content on their platforms.[101][102][103]

Around this time, the death of George Floyd, an African-American, in an incident involving four White Minneapolis Police Department officers on May 25, sparked racially-driven riots in the city that turned violent by the evening of May 28. Trump tweeted his opinion on the violent protests, stating he had spoken to state governor Tim Walz about bringing National Guard forces to help calm the situation, but concluded the tweet by saying "Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Twitter, after internal consultation with its review boards and management, opted to add a "public interest notice"[104] to the tweet,[105] warning users it "glorified violence" and while they normally would have removed such posts in the past, they "have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance."[106] Twitter users were still able to view Trump's tweet if they chose to click on it,[107] but could not like or retweet it without their own comment.

A major hack of Twitter on July 15, 2020, affecting numerous high-profile accounts, both verified and unverified ones, caused the accounts to send tweets containing a Bitcoin doubling scam.[108] Within a few hours, Twitter disabled tweeting and reset passwords from all verified accounts.[109]

Twitter History articles: 66

Leadership

As chief executive officer, Dorsey saw the startup through two rounds of capital funding by the venture capitalists who backed the company.[110] On October 16, 2008,[111] Williams took over the role of CEO, and Dorsey became chairman of the board.[112] On October 4, 2010, Williams announced that he was stepping down as CEO. Dick Costolo, formerly Twitter's chief operating officer, became CEO. On October 4, 2010, Williams made an announcement saying that he will stay with the company and "be completely focused on product strategy".[113][114]

According to The New York Times, "Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Costolo forged a close relationship" when Williams was away.[115] According to PC Magazine, Williams was "no longer involved in the day-to-day goings on at the company". He was focused on developing a new startup, and became a member of Twitter's board of directors, and promised to "help in any way [he could]". In 2011, Stone was still with Twitter but was working with AOL as an "advisor on volunteer efforts and philanthropy".[116] In January 2014, Stone announced the release of Jelly, a 'social Q&A network for mobile'.[117] Dorsey rejoined Twitter in March 2011, as executive chairman focusing on product development. At that time, he split his schedule with Square (where he is CEO), whose offices are within walking distance of Twitter's in San Francisco.[115]

In September 2011, board members and investors Fred Wilson and Bijan Sabet resigned from Twitter's board of directors.[118] In October 2012, Twitter announced it had hired former Google executive Matt Derella to become their new director of business agency development.[119] Twitter named former Goldman Sachs executive Anthony Noto as the company's CFO in July 2014, with an "annual salary of $250,000 and one-time restricted stock options of 1.5 million shares ... valued at $61.5 million".[120] On June 10, 2015, Twitter announced its CEO Dick Costolo would resign on July 1, 2015.[121] Noto was said to be considered a potential replacement for outgoing CEO Costolo.[122] On October 14, 2015, former Google chief business officer Omid Kordestani became executive chairman, replacing Dorsey who remains CEO.[123] On January 26, 2016, Leslie Berland, former executive vice president of global advertising, marketing, and digital partnerships at American Express, was named chief marketing officer.[124] In November 2016, COO Adam Bain announced his resignation and CFO Anthony Noto took over Bain's role.[125][126] A month later, on December 20, 2016, CTO Adam Messinger announced that he too was leaving.[127][128]

In February 2020, it was reported that Elliott Management Corporation had acquired a stake in Twitter, with activist shareholder and Republican Party supporter Paul Singer expected to seek the removal of Dorsey as CEO.[129] Twitter agreed to appoint a new independent director and two new board members, and to perform $2 billion in share buybacks.[130]

Twitter Leadership articles: 15

Appearance and features

Logo and font

The Twitter logo from September 14, 2010 – June 5, 2012, featuring the silhouette version of "Larry the Bird"

Twitter has become internationally identifiable by its signature bird logo, or the Twitter Bird. The original logo, which was simply the word "Twitter", was in use from its launch in March 2006. It was accompanied by an image of a bird which was later discovered to be a piece of clip art created by the British graphic designer Simon Oxley.[131] A new logo had to be redesigned by founder Biz Stone with help from designer Philip Pascuzzo, which resulted in a more cartoon-like bird in 2009. This version had been dubbed "Larry the Bird" specifically named after Larry Bird of the NBA's Boston Celtics fame.[132][133] Within a year, the Larry the Bird logo underwent a redesign by Stone and Pascuzzo to eliminate the cartoon features, leaving a solid silhouette of Larry the Bird that was used from 2010 through 2012.[132] In 2012, Douglas Bowman created a further simplified version of Larry the Bird, keeping the solid silhouette but making it more similar to a mountain bluebird.[134] This new logo was called simply the "Twitter Bird," and has been used as the company's branding since.[132][135]

On May 30, 2014, Twitter announced, "Starting today, we're rolling out a new font on twitter.com, moving from Helvetica Neue to Gotham".[136]

Tweets

The Twitter account page for Wikipedia, demonstrating the account-customized timeline view which shows tweets in reverse chronological order

Tweets are publicly visible by default, but senders can restrict message delivery to only their followers. Users can tweet via the Twitter website, compatible external applications (such as for smartphones), or by Short Message Service (SMS) available in certain countries.[137] Users may subscribe to other users' tweets—this is known as "following" and subscribers are known as "followers"[138] or "tweeps", a portmanteau of Twitter and peeps.[139] Individual tweets can be forwarded by other users to their own feed, a process known as a "retweet". Users can also "like" (formerly "favorite") individual tweets.[140] Twitter allows users to update their profile via their mobile phone either by text messaging or by apps released for certain smartphones and tablets.[141] Twitter has been compared to a web-based Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client.[142] In a 2009 Time magazine essay, technology author Steven Johnson described the basic mechanics of Twitter as "remarkably simple":

As a social network, Twitter revolves around the principle of followers. When you choose to follow another Twitter user, that user's tweets appear in reverse chronological order on your main Twitter page. If you follow 20 people, you'll see a mix of tweets scrolling down the page: breakfast-cereal updates, interesting new links, music recommendations, even musings on the future of education.[143]

According to research published in April 2014, around 44% of user accounts have never tweeted.[144]

The first tweet was posted by Jack Dorsey (creator) at 12:50 PM PST on March 21, 2006 and read "just setting up my twttr".[145] In 2009, the first tweet was sent from space. US astronauts Nicola Stott and Jeff Williams took part in a live 'tweetup' from the International Space Station with around 35 members of the public at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC.[146]

Content

Content of tweets according to Pear Analytics
  News (3.6%)
  Spam (3.8%)
  Self-promotion (5.9%)
  Pointless babble (40.1%)
  Conversational (37.6%)
  Pass-along value (8.7%)

San Antonio-based market-research firm Pear Analytics analyzed 2,000 tweets (originating from the United States and in English) over a two-week period in August 2009 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm (CST) and separated them into six categories.[147] Pointless babble made up 40%, with 38% being conversational. Pass-along value had 9%, self-promotion 6% with spam and news each making 4%.

Despite Jack Dorsey's own open contention that a message on Twitter is "a short burst of inconsequential information", social networking researcher danah boyd responded to the Pear Analytics survey by arguing that what the Pear researchers labeled "pointless babble" is better characterized as "social grooming" and/or "peripheral awareness" (which she justifies as persons "want[ing] to know what the people around them are thinking and doing and feeling, even when co-presence isn't viable").[148] Similarly, a survey of Twitter users found that a more specific social role of passing along messages that include a hyperlink is an expectation of reciprocal linking by followers.[149]

Format

Hashtags, usernames, retweets and replies

Users can group posts together by topic or type by use of hashtags – words or phrases prefixed with a "#" sign. Similarly, the "@" sign followed by a username is used for mentioning or replying to other users.[150]

To repost a message from another Twitter user and share it with one's own followers, a user can click the retweet button within the Tweet. Users can reply other accounts' replies. Since November 2019, users can hide replies to their messages. Since May 2020, users can select who can reply each of their messages: anyone, accounts who follow the poster, specific accounts, and none.[151]

Twitter Lists

In late 2009, the "Twitter Lists" feature was added, making it possible for users to follow ad hoc lists of authors instead of individual authors.[138][152]

Using SMS

Through SMS, users can communicate with Twitter through five gateway numbers: short codes for the United States, Canada, India, New Zealand, and an Isle of Man-based number for international use. There is also a short code in the United Kingdom which is only accessible to those on the Vodafone, O2[153] and Orange[154] networks. In India, since Twitter only supports tweets from Bharti Airtel,[155] an alternative platform called smsTweet[156] was set up by a user to work on all networks.[157] A similar platform called GladlyCast exists for mobile phone users in Singapore and Malaysia.[158]

The tweets were set to a largely constrictive 140-character limit for compatibility with SMS messaging, introducing the shorthand notation and slang commonly used in SMS messages. The 140-character limit also increased the usage of URL shortening services such as bit.ly, goo.gl, tinyurl.com, tr.im, and other content-hosting services such as TwitPic, memozu.com and NotePub to accommodate multimedia content and text longer than 140 characters. Since June 2011, Twitter has used its own t.co domain for automatic shortening of all URLs posted on its site, making other link shorteners unnecessary for staying within Twitter's 140 character limit.[159][160]

In August 2019, Jack Dorsey's account was hacked by using Twitter's SMS to tweet feature to send crude messages. Days later, the ability to send a tweet via SMS was temporarily turned off.[161]

In April 2020, Twitter discontinued the ability to receive SMS messages containing the text of new tweets in most countries.[162][163]

Character limits

In 2016, Twitter announced that media such as photos, videos, and the person's handle, would not count against the already constrictive 140 character limit. A user photo post used to count for a large chunk of a Tweet, about 24 characters.[164] Attachments and links would also no longer be part of the character limit.[165]

Since March 30, 2017, the Twitter handles are outside the tweet itself, therefore they no longer count towards the character limit.[166] Only new Twitter handles added to the conversation count towards the limit.

In 2017, Twitter doubled their historical 140-character-limitation to 280.[167] Under the new limit, glyphs are counted as a variable number of characters, depending upon the script they are from: most European letters and punctuation forms count as one character, while each CJK glyph counts as two so that only 140 such glyphs can be used in a tweet.[167]

Image captions

On Tuesday, 2016-03-29, Twitter introduced a feature to improve accessibility for visually impaired people:[168] A caption with the length of up to 420 characters[169] can be added to each image optionally.

This caption can be accessed by screen reading software or by hovering the mouse above a picture inside TweetDeck.

URL shortener

t.co is a URL shortening service created by Twitter.[159] It is only available for links posted to Twitter and not available for general use.[159] All links posted to Twitter use a t.co wrapper.[170] Twitter hopes that the service will be able to protect users from malicious sites,[159] and will use it to track clicks on links within tweets.[159][171]

Having used the services of third parties TinyURL and bit.ly,[172] Twitter began experimenting with its own URL shortening service for private messages in March 2010 using the twt.tl domain,[170] before it purchased the t.co domain. The service was tested on the main site using the accounts @TwitterAPI, @rsarver and @raffi.[170] On September 2, 2010, an email from Twitter to users said they would be expanding the roll-out of the service to users. On June 7, 2011, Twitter announced that it was rolling out the feature.[160]

Trending topics

Countries and cities with local trending topics in Twitter

A word, phrase, or topic that is mentioned at a greater rate than others is said to be a "trending topic". Trending topics become popular either through a concerted effort by users or because of an event that prompts people to talk about a specific topic.[173] These topics help Twitter and their users to understand what is happening in the world and what people's opinions are about it.[174]

Trending topics are sometimes the result of concerted efforts and manipulations by preteen and teenaged fans of certain celebrities or cultural phenomena, particularly musicians like Lady Gaga (known as Little Monsters), Justin Bieber (Beliebers), Rihanna (Rih Navy) and One Direction (Directioners), and novel series Twilight (Twihards) and Harry Potter (Potterheads). Twitter has altered the trend algorithm in the past to prevent manipulation of this type with limited success.[175]

The Twitter web interface displays a list of trending topics on a sidebar on the home page, along with sponsored content (see image).

Twitter often censors trending hashtags that are claimed to be abusive or offensive. Twitter censored the #Thatsafrican[176] and #thingsdarkiessay hashtags after users complained that they found the hashtags offensive.[177] There are allegations that Twitter removed #NaMOinHyd from the trending list and added an Indian National Congress-sponsored hashtag.[178]

Moments

In October 2015, Twitter introduced "Moments"—a feature that allows users to curate tweets from other users into a larger collection. Twitter initially intended the feature to be used by its in-house editorial team and other partners; they populated a dedicated tab in Twitter's apps, chronicling news headlines, sporting events, and other content.[179][180] In September 2016, creation of moments became available to all Twitter users.[181]

Adding and following content

There are numerous tools for adding content, monitoring content and conversations including Twitter's own TweetDeck, Salesforce.com, HootSuite, and Twitterfeed.com. As of 2009, fewer than half of tweets posted were posted using the web user interface with most users using third-party applications (based on an analysis of 500 million tweets by Sysomos).[182]

Verified accounts

The official Twitter profile of Twitter, Inc. The blue check mark right of the profile name indicates that it is a verified account.

In June 2009, after being criticized by Kanye West and sued by Tony La Russa over unauthorized accounts run by impersonators, Twitter launched their 'Verified Accounts' program.[183][184] Twitter stated that an account with a "blue tick" verification badge indicates "we've been in contact with the person or entity the account is representing and verified that it is approved."[185] After the beta period, Twitter stated in their FAQ that the company "proactively verifies accounts on an ongoing basis to make it easier for users to find who they’re looking for" and that they "do not accept requests for verification from the general public."[186]

In July 2016, Twitter announced a public application process to grant verified status to an account "if it is determined to be of public interest" and that verification "does not imply an endorsement."[187][188][189] As of November 2017, Twitter continued to deny verification of Julian Assange following his requests.[190] In November 2017, the company suspended the verification process and announced plans to refine it in response to backlash after white nationalist Jason Kessler had his account verified on Twitter.[191][192][193]

Verified status allows access to some features unavailable to other users, such as only seeing mentions from other verified accounts.[194]

In a March 8, 2018 live-stream on Twitter's Periscope, Dorsey discussed the idea of allowing any user to get a verified account. "The intention is to open verification to everyone, and to do it in a way that is scalable where [Twitter is] not in the way," Dorsey said. "And people can verify more facts about themselves, and we don’t have to be the judge or imply any bias on our part."[195]

In November 2019, Dalit activists of India alleged that higher caste people get Twitter verification easily and trended hashtags #CancelAllBlueTicksInIndia and #CasteistTwitter.[196][197][198] Critics have commented that Twitter's verification process is not transparent and causes digital marginalisation of already marginalised communities.[199] Twitter India rejected the allegations, calling them 'impartial' and working on a 'case-by-case' policy.[200][201]

Mobile

The mobile version of Twitter[202]

Twitter has mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows 10, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Nokia S40.[203] Users can also tweet by sending SMS.[204] In April 2017, Twitter introduced Twitter Lite, a progressive web app designed for regions with unreliable and slow Internet connections, with a size of less than one megabyte, designed for devices with limited storage capacity.[205][206]

This has been released in countries with slow internet connection such as the Philippines.[207]

Twitter Lite has evolved into the main Twitter web interface, see section "interface".

Third-party applications

For many years, Twitter has limited the use of third-party applications accessing the service by implementing a 100,000 user limit per application.[208] Since August 2010, third-party Twitter applications have been required to use OAuth, an authentication method that does not require users to enter their password into the authenticating application. This was done to increase security and improve the user experience.[209]

Related headlines feature

This feature adds websites to the bottom of a tweet's permalink page. If a website embedded a tweet onto one of their stories, the tweet will show the websites that mentioned the tweet. This feature was added onto Twitter so if the viewer doesn't understand what the tweet means, they can click on the sites to read more about what the person is talking about.[210]

Polls

In 2015, Twitter began to roll out the ability to attach poll questions to tweets. Polls are open for up to 7 days, and voters are not personally identified.[211]

Initially, polls could have only two options with a maximum of twenty characters per option. Later, the ability to add four options with up to 25 characters per option, was added.

Integrated photo-sharing service

On June 1, 2011, Twitter announced its own integrated photo-sharing service that enables users to upload a photo and attach it to a Tweet right from Twitter.com.[212] Users now also have the ability to add pictures to Twitter's search by adding hashtags to the tweet.[213] Twitter also plans to provide photo galleries designed to gather and syndicate all photos that a user has uploaded on Twitter and third-party services such as TwitPic.[213]

Streaming video

In 2016, Twitter began to place a larger focus on live streaming video programming, hosting various events including streams of the Republican and Democratic conventions during the U.S. presidential campaign as part of a partnership with CBS News,[214] Dreamhack and ESL eSports events,[215] and winning a bid for non-exclusive streaming rights to ten NFL Thursday Night Football games in the 2016 season.[215][216]

During an event in New York in May 2017, Twitter announced that it planned to construct a 24-hour streaming video channel hosted within the service, featuring content from various partners.[215][217] CEO Jack Dorsey stated that the digital video strategy was part of a goal for Twitter to be "the first place that anyone hears of anything going on that matters to them"; as of the first quarter of 2017, Twitter had over 200 content partners, who streamed over 800 hours of video over 450 events.[218]

Twitter announced a number of new and expanded partnerships for its streaming video services at the event, including Bloomberg, BuzzFeed, Cheddar (Opening Bell and Closing Bell shows; the latter was introduced in October 2016) IMG Fashion (coverage of fashion events), Live Nation Entertainment (streaming concert events), Major League Baseball (weekly online game stream, plus a weekly program with live look-ins and coverage of trending stories), MTV and BET (red carpet coverage for their MTV Video Music Awards, MTV Movie & TV Awards, and BET Awards), NFL Network (the Monday-Thursday news program NFL Blitz Live, and Sunday Fantasy Gameday),[219][220] the PGA Tour (PGA Tour Live coverage of early tournament rounds preceding television coverage),[221] The Players' Tribune, Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens' Propagate (daily entertainment show #WhatsHappening), The Verge (weekly technology show Circuit Breaker: The Verge’s Gadget Show), Stadium (a new digital sports network being formed by Silver Chalice and Sinclair Broadcast Group)[222][223][224] and the WNBA (weekly game).[218]

Account archival

Twitter has offered two different methods of archiving one's own Twitter account data. Those methods have their individual benefits and disadvantages. Since August 2019, only the latter archival method is available.

Browsable legacy Twitter archive format

In December 2012, Twitter introduced a "Tweet archival" feature,[225] which created a ZIP file that contains an offline-browsable archive of all tweets.

Those exported tweets could be browsed and searched offline by using the bundled user-interface accessible through an Internet browser, which used client-side, JavaScript-powered pagination.[226]

The user interface of the tweet archive browser had a design similar to Twitter's 2010–2014 desktop user interface, even until the feature's removal.

The tweet text contents, ID's, time data and source labels are located in the file called "tweets.csv".

The ability to export this type of tweet archive, which never existed on the new layout, has been removed entirely in August 2019[when exactly?], after co-existing with the new 2018 data archival method. Even when accessing the legacy Twitter desktop website layout using the user-agent of an older browser version, the option has disappeared from the account settings.

It was possible to request at least 1 archive per day.

New machine-readable archive format

Due to the legal GDPR §20 obligation (effective since May 2018) to provide data portability, social media services had to introduce advanced data export capabilities and utilities.

The original browsable tweet archives did lack a lot of metadata, especially about the account itself, which the new machine-readable archival feature does contain:

  • Account ID and creation date
  • Direct messages
  • List of:
    • Following users + count
    • Followed users + count
    • Blocked user IDs
    • Muted user IDs
    • Liked tweets
  • Twitter Moments
  • Information about Periscope account
  • Saved searches
  • Screen name changes
  • Associated mobile phone number
  • Various account settings
  • Users in created Twitter Lists
  • Member of which Twitter Lists
  • Advanced tweet metadata (e.g. tweet source tag)
  • More…

The tweet contents are located in the file called "tweet.js".

However, this new archival format contains all uploaded multimedia in the highest resolution, which makes its file size usually multiple times as large.

Additionally, the integrated tweet browser from the legacy archival feature is not bundled.

Another disadvantage is that one can only generate one of these archives per 30 days. After obtaining this archive, one has to wait 30 days until requesting the next archive is possible. During that timespan, the previous archive remains downloadable from the account settings.

This feature co-existed with the original browsable tweet archival feature since early 2018, until the latter was removed in August 2019.

Twitter Appearance and features articles: 106

Usage

In mid-September 2019, Twitter was ranked the 32nd most visited website globally by Alexa's web traffic analysis, down from twelfth in March 2018.[227][228]

Daily user estimates vary as the company does not publish statistics on active accounts. A February 2009 Compete.com blog entry ranked Twitter as the third most used social network based on their count of 6 million unique monthly visitors and 55 million monthly visits.[47] In 2009, Twitter had a monthly user retention rate of forty percent.[229] Twitter had annual growth of 1,382 percent, increasing from 475,000 unique visitors in February 2008 to 7 million in February 2009. Twitter's annual growth rate decreased from 7.8 percent in 2015 to 3.4 percent in 2017.[230] An April 2017 a statista.com blog entry ranked Twitter as the tenth most used social network based on their count of 319 million monthly visitors.[231] Its global user base in 2017 was 328 million.[232] As per August 2018, Twitter light (data saving app) is available in 45 countries.[233]

Demographics

Twitter.com Top5 Global Markets by Reach (%)[234][235]
Country Percent
Indonesia June 2010
  
20.8%
December 2010
  
19.0%
Brazil June 2010
  
20.5%
December 2010
  
21.8%
Venezuela June 2010
  
19.0%
December 2010
  
21.1%
Netherlands June 2010
  
17.7%
December 2010
  
22.3%
Japan June 2010
  
16.8%
December 2010
  
20.0%
Note: Visitor age 15+, home and work locations. Excludes visitation from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.

In 2009, Twitter was mainly used by older adults who might not have used other social sites before Twitter, said Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst studying social media. "Adults are just catching up to what teens have been doing for years," he said.[236] According to comScore only eleven percent of Twitter's users are aged twelve to seventeen.[236] comScore attributed this to Twitter's "early adopter period" when the social network first gained popularity in business settings and news outlets attracting primarily older users. However, comScore also stated in 2009 that Twitter had begun to "filter more into the mainstream", and "along with it came a culture of celebrity as Shaq, Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher joined the ranks of the Twitterati".[237]

According to a study by Sysomos in June 2009, women make up a slightly larger Twitter demographic than men—fifty-three percent over forty-seven percent. It also stated that five percent of users accounted for seventy-five percent of all activity and that New York City has more Twitter users than other cities.[238]

According to Quancast, twenty-seven million people in the US used Twitter as of September 3, 2009. Sixty-three percent of Twitter users are under thirty-five years old; sixty percent of Twitter users are Caucasian, but a higher than average (compared to other Internet properties) are African American/black (sixteen percent) and Hispanic (eleven percent); fifty-eight percent of Twitter users have a total household income of at least US$60,000.[239] The prevalence of African American Twitter usage and in many popular hashtags has been the subject of research studies.[240][241]

On September 7, 2011, Twitter announced that it had 100 million active users logging in at least once a month and 50 million active users every day.[242]

In an article published on January 6, 2012, Twitter was confirmed to be the biggest social media network in Japan, with Facebook following closely in second. comScore confirmed this, stating that Japan was the only country in the world where Twitter leads Facebook.[243]

On March 31, 2014, Twitter announced there were 255 million monthly active users (MAUs) and 198 million mobile MAUs.[244] In 2013, there were over 100 million users actively using Twitter daily and about 500 million Tweets every day,[245] with about 29% of users checking Twitter multiple times a day.[246]

In 2012, the country with the most active users on Twitter was the United States.[247] A 2016 Pew research poll found that Twitter is used by 24% of all online US adults. It was equally popular with men and women (24% and 25% of online Americans respectively), but more popular with younger (36% of 18-29 year olds) generations.[248]

Decline and levels of use

Following a high of 24% in 2016, in 2019 pew research had found its overall usage had dropped to 22%.[249] Media outlets have pointed out not to rely on twitter as a representative of the population, saying "Twitter is not America",[250] stating that only 10% of users tweet actively, and that 90% of twitter users have tweeted no more than twice. One reason for the decline in tweets and usage is the rise of cancel culture, with Fast Company saying " The platform is now the world’s principal venue for politics and outrage, culture and conversation–the home for both #MAGA and #MeToo."[251]

Twitter Usage articles: 11

Finances

For the fiscal year 2017, Twitter reported losses of US$108 million, with an annual revenue of $2.443 billion, a decrease of 3.9% over the previous fiscal cycle. Twitter's shares traded at over $17 per share, and its market capitalization was valued at over US$25.6 billion in October 2018.

Year Revenue
in mil. US$
Net income
in mil. US$
Total assets
in mil. US$
Employees
2010[252] 28 −67 0
2011[252] 106 −164 721
2012[252] 317 −79 832
2013[252] 665 −645 3,366 2,712
2014[253] 1,403 −578 5,583 3,638
2015[254] 2,218 −521 6,442 3,898
2016[255] 2,530 −457 6,870 3,583
2017[256] 2,443 −108 7,412 3,372
2018[257] 3,042 1,206 10,163 3,900

Funding

Twitter's San Francisco headquarters located at 1355 Market Street

Twitter raised over US$57 million from venture capitalist growth funding, although exact figures are not publicly disclosed. Twitter's first A round of funding was for an undisclosed amount that is rumored to have been between US$1 million and US$5 million.[258] Its second B round of funding in 2008 was for US$22 million[259] and its third C round of funding in 2009 was for US$35 million from Institutional Venture Partners and Benchmark Capital along with an undisclosed amount from other investors including Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital, and Insight Venture Partners.[258] Twitter is backed by Union Square Ventures, Digital Garage, Spark Capital, and Bezos Expeditions.[260]

In May 2008, The Industry Standard remarked that Twitter's long-term viability is limited by a lack of revenue.[261] Twitter board member Todd Chaffee forecast that the company could profit from e-commerce, noting that users may want to buy items directly from Twitter since it already provides product recommendations and promotions.[262]

By March 2009 communications consultant Bill Douglass predicted in an interview that Twitter would be worth $1 billion within six months,[263] which came to pass when the company closed a financing round valuing it at $1 billion in September of that year.[264]

The company raised US$200 million in new venture capital in December 2010, at a valuation of approximately US$3.7 billion.[265] In March 2011, 35,000 Twitter shares sold for US$34.50 each on Sharespost, an implied valuation of US$7.8 billion.[266] In August 2010 Twitter announced a "significant" investment led by Digital Sky Technologies that, at US$800 million, was reported to be the largest venture round in history.[267]

In December 2011, the Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal invested US$300 million in Twitter. The company was valued at US$8.4 billion at the time.[268] In 2016, Twitter was valued by Forbes at US$15.7 billion.[269]

Revenue sources

In July 2009, some of Twitter's revenue and user growth documents were published on TechCrunch after being illegally obtained by Hacker Croll. The documents projected 2009 revenues of US$400,000 in the third quarter and US$4 million in the fourth quarter along with 25 million users by the end of the year. The projections for the end of 2013 were US$1.54 billion in revenue, US$111 million in net earnings, and one billion users.[270] No information about how Twitter planned to achieve those numbers was published. In response, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone published a blog post suggesting the possibility of legal action against the hacker.[271]

On April 13, 2010, Twitter announced plans to offer paid advertising for companies that would be able to purchase "promoted tweets" to appear in selective search results on the Twitter website, similar to Google Adwords' advertising model. As of April 13, Twitter announced it had already signed up a number of companies wishing to advertise, including Sony Pictures, Red Bull, Best Buy, and Starbucks.[272][273]

The company generated US$45 million in annual revenue in 2010, after beginning sales midway through that year; the company operated at a loss through most of 2010.[265]

Users' photos can generate royalty-free revenue for Twitter, and an agreement with World Entertainment News Network (WENN) was announced in May 2011.[274] In June 2011, Twitter announced that it would offer small businesses a self-service advertising system.[275] Twitter generated US$139.5 million in advertising sales during 2011.

The self-service advertising platform was launched in March 2012 to American Express card members and merchants in the U.S. on an invite-only basis. Twitter later reported that numerous small businesses and people who used the self-service tool provided feedback that indicated they were impressed by the feature.[276] To continue their advertising campaign, Twitter announced on March 20, 2012, that promoted tweets would be introduced to mobile devices.[277] In April 2013, Twitter announced that its Twitter Ads self-service platform, consisting of promoted tweets and promoted accounts, was available to all U.S. users without an invite.[276]

Twitter's financial revenue statistics for the first quarter of 2014 was reported as US$250 million.[244]

On August 3, 2016, Twitter launched Instant Unlock Card, a new feature that encourages people to tweet about a brand in order to earn rewards and utilize the social media network's conversational ads. The format itself consists of images or videos with call-to-action buttons and a customizable hashtag.[278]

Stock launch and tax issues

Twitter's San Francisco headquarters, as seen from a corner on Market Street

On September 12, 2013, Twitter announced that it had filed papers with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ahead of a planned stock market listing.[279] It revealed its prospectus in an 800-page filing.[280] Twitter planned to raise US$1 billion as the basis for its stock market debut.[281] The initial public offering (IPO) filing states that "200,000,000+ monthly active users" access Twitter and "500,000,000+ tweets per day" are posted.[35][282] In an October 15, 2013 amendment to their SEC S-1 filing,[283] Twitter declared that they would list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), quashing speculation that their stock would trade on the NASDAQ exchange. This decision was widely viewed to be a reaction to the botched initial public offering of Facebook.[284] On November 6, 2013, 70 million shares[285] were priced at US$26 and issued by lead underwriter Goldman Sachs.[286]

On November 7, 2013, the first day of trading on the NYSE, Twitter shares opened at $26.00 and closed at US$44.90, giving the company a valuation of around US$31 billion.[287] Consequently executives and early investors marginally increased their capital, including co-founders Williams and Dorsey who received a sum of US$2.56 billion and US$1.05 billion respectively, while Costolo's payment was US$345 million.[288] On February 5, 2014, Twitter published its first results as a public company, showing a net loss of $511 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.[289] On January 5, 2016, CEO Jack Dorsey commented on a report that Twitter planned to expand its character limit to 10,000 (private messages already had the longer limit as of July), requiring users to click to see anything beyond 140 characters. He said while Twitter would "never lose that feeling" of speed, users could do more with the text.[290]

In September 2016, Twitter shares rose 20% after a report that it had received takeover approaches.[291] Potential buyers were Alphabet (the parent company of Google),[291] Microsoft,[292][293][294] Salesforce.com,[291][295] Verizon,[295] and The Walt Disney Company.[296][297] Twitter's board of directors were open to a deal, which could have come by the end of 2016.[291][298] However, no deal was made, with reports in October stating that all the potential buyers dropped out partly due to concerns over abuse and harassment on the service.[299][300][301] In June 2017, Twitter revamped its dashboard to improve the new user experience.[302][303]

In November 2017, the Paradise Papers, a set of confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investment, revealed that Twitter is among the corporations that avoided paying taxes by using offshore companies.[304] Later The New York Times reported that Russian-American billionaire Yuri Milner had strong Kremlin backing for his investments in Facebook and Twitter.[305]

Advertising bans

In October 2017, Twitter banned the Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik from advertising on their website following the conclusions of the U.S. national intelligence report the previous January that both Sputnik and RT had been used as vehicles for Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election.[306] Maria Zakharova for the Russian foreign ministry said the ban was a "gross violation" by the US of free speech.[307]

In October 2019, Twitter announced it would stop running political ads on its ad platform effective 22 November. This resulted from several spurious claims made by political ads. Company CEO Dorsey clarified that internet advertising had great power and was extremely effective for commercial advertisers, the power brings significant risks to politics where crucial decisions impact millions of lives.[308]

Twitter Finances articles: 45