Turmoil continues to reign supreme at tech giant Twitter, with the company announcing plans to discontinue Dashboard. Despite high expectations when Twitter made its stock market debut, the company has continued to make large losses and has been beset by departures from its top executive team. The end of its short-lived experiment targeting the small business market segment is yet another example of the seeming drift in the company’s strategy and management.
Layoffs, Losses Plague Twitter In Recent Months
One of the hottest initial public offerings in history, Twitter was expected to grow dramatically and become a company that would rival Facebook. However, according to the latest data, Twitter has essentially stopped growing: the firm has been stuck near 313 million users for years. At the same time, the amount of time users have been spending on the platform has actually shrunk. According to The Economist, Americans spend an average of 2.8 minutes each day on the app – which is less than half the time they spent using the platform two years ago.
Twitter has also been caught up in a mix of combustible politics, especially during the tumultuous 2016 presidential campaign. In fact, the company became a political flashpoint because of rampant abuse directed at women and racial minorities on the platform. The company’s decision to permanently suspend provocative Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos for directing racist and misogynistic attacks at actress Leslie Jones sparked howls of outrage from conservatives and led even some liberals to question whether Twitter had gained too much influence over the political debate in the United States.
Ongoing controversy over the pervasiveness of personal attacks and cyberbullying on the platform has made advertisers skittish and has led to a spate of bad publicity for the company. Especially harmful have been cases involving children driven to suicide or self-harm by young adults who have faced harassment from peers or, even worse, strangers on the platform. These cases, which frequently make headlines due to their tawdry nature, have dimmed the brand in the eyes of some advertisers.
Criticism has mounted that Jack Dorsey, the founder and chief executive of Twitter, is too busy running Square – another technology company that he founded – to fully devote his attention to the mounting problems. Dorsey, who was let go by Twitter before being brought back in 2015, has presided over a revolving door of senior executives at the firm.
According to some reports, morale at Twitter has fallen so precipitously that managers routinely arrive late and do little serious work. Many people believe that Dorsey intends to arrange for the company to sell itself to a bigger corporate giant, such as The Walt Disney Company or 21st Century Fox. So far, however, a proposed sale has come to naught.
The quick rubbishing of the Dashboard tool, which was heavily touted as a way of growing small business engagement, is another indication that the company has not been able to see major growth projects through and has instead lurched from proposal to proposal. That surely must be disappointing to shareholders – who have seen the share price fall by half since Dorsey’s return.
Twitter Rebound Seems Difficult Without Big Changes
Given the tumult at the top and the churn in the middle, it seems difficult for Twitter to execute any sort of quick turnaround. Pinning the company’s hopes on a single product, like Dashboard, has increasingly become a fool’s errand. Without dramatic changes, the company may slowly shift into a rump of itself, used by the 20-40 million hardcore users but abandoned by the bulk of casual users in the United States and around the world.
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