Is Twitter Fudging Numbers to Hide Their Dwindling User Numbers? Sure Looks That Way.

Is the moment everyone has been waiting for finally here? Is this the year that Twitter starts the slow slide into MySpace irrelevance? According to Statista, Twitter has stopped reporting its monthly user count.

For the last time, Twitter publicly disclosed its monthly active user count on Tuesday, revealing that an average of 330 million people a month used its service in the first quarter of 2019. While that's a slight improvement compared to the previous two quarters, it still marks a net loss of six million users compared to the same period of 2018. Over the past three years, Twitter has now added just 20 million monthly active users, with its user count hovering around 330 million for the better part of that period, indicating that the platform may have reached its growth limit.

(Image credit: Statista)

The only reason to leave out reports of new users is to hide negative or stagnate growth. The stock market didn’t like the news and plunged after the change in reporting was announced. The New York Post reported the hit.

Twitter shares tanked nearly 10 percent Thursday after the social network said it would stop reporting its closely watched — and usually lackluster — monthly active user metrics.

The abrupt change, coupled with a weaker-than expected earnings report, spooked investors and overshadowed strong forth-quarter results that included a 24-percent jump in revenue.

Perhaps Twitter should look to their censorship problems to explain the loss of users. The platform is increasingly viewed as hostile to political speech from the right. As David Frum eloquently explained, "Politics remains welcome at Twitter, as its most famous user, the president-elect, can attest. What Twitter is saying is that some and only some speech will be policed, by standards that can only be guessed at in advance."

Alienating half of their demographic will never be a winning strategy for Twitter.

 

Megan Fox is the author of Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo.” Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter