Twitter, Inc. is an American communications company based in San Francisco, California. The company operates the microblogging and social networking service Twitter. It previously operated the Vine short video app and Periscope livestreaming service.
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[update], more than 100 million users posted 340 million tweets a day, and the service handled an average of 1.6 billion search queries per day. The company went public in November 2013. By the start of 2019[update], Twitter had more than 330 million monthly active users.
On April 25, 2022, the Twitter board of directors agreed to a $44 billion buyout by Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, potentially making it one of the biggest deals to turn a company private. On July 8, 2022, Musk terminated the deal. As a result, Twitter shares experienced a fall and the company hired a US law firm to take legal action against Musk, launching a lawsuit against him in the Chancery Court of Delaware on July 12.
- 1 History
- 2 Services
- 3 Acquisitions
- 4 Leadership
- 5 Finances
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
2006–2007: Creation and initial reaction
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. Work on the project started on March 21, 2006, when Dorsey published the first Twitter message at 12:50 p.m. PST (UTC−08:00): "just setting up my twttr". The first Twitter prototype, developed by Dorsey and contractor Florian Weber, was used as an internal service for Odeo employees. The full version was introduced publicly on July 15, 2006. 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. Williams fired Glass, who was silent about his part in Twitter's startup until 2011. Twitter spun off into its own company in April 2007.
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. "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." 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.
In April 2012, Twitter announced that it was opening an office in Detroit, with the aim of working with automotive brands and advertising agencies. Twitter also expanded its office in Dublin. On December 18, 2012, Twitter announced it had surpassed 200 million monthly active users. Twitter hit 100 million monthly active users in September 2011.
In September 2016, Twitter shares rose 20% after a report that it had received takeover approaches. Potential buyers were Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Microsoft, Salesforce.com, Verizon, and The Walt Disney Company. Twitter's board of directors were open to a deal, which could have come by the end of 2016. 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. In June 2017, Twitter revamped its dashboard to improve the new user experience.
2022–present: Proposed acquisition by Elon Musk
Business magnate Elon Musk revealed that he had bought 9.1% of Twitter for $2.64 billion on April 4, 2022. In response, Twitter's stock rose by as much as 27% and Twitter shares experienced the largest intraday surge since Twitter's IPO in 2013. Musk was offered a seat on Twitter's board of directors as part of a deal that prohibited him from acquiring more than 14.9% of the company, but Musk decided not to join the board before his appointment became effective on April 9.
Musk then made an unsolicited offer on April 14 to acquire Twitter for $43 billion and take the company private, saying that he believed in the importance of free speech for democracy around the world. In a TED interview, Musk showed little interest in fighting internet censorship around the world, saying that "Twitter should match the laws of the country". Instead, Musk's concern about free speech has been directed almost entirely at Twitter's moderation policies. Twitter's board introduced a "poison pill" strategy on April 15, which would allow shareholders to buy additional stock should a hostile takeover occur as a means to block Musk's takeover. On April 20, Musk secured $46.5 billion as a tender offer to buy Twitter. On April 25, it was reported that Twitter was prepared to accept Musk's offer, with the board publicly accepting the offer later that day.
Musk has stated that his first plan is to open-source the algorithm that ranks tweets in the content feed, in order to increase transparency. He has stated intention to remove the spam bots, and to authenticate all real humans.
On July 8, Musk announced he was unilaterally terminating the proposed acquisition, claiming in a regulatory filing that Twitter was in "material breach" of several parts of the agreement by refusing to comply with Musk's requests for spambot account data and dismissing high-ranking employees. In response, Twitter board chair Bret Taylor pledged to pursue legal action against Musk at the Delaware Court of Chancery with the goal of completing the acquisition. On July 10, Twitter hired the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to represent their case, including "key lawyers" William Savitt and Leo Strine. Musk again employed the services of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan after previously doing so for Unsworth v. Musk and SEC v. Musk. Twitter formally launched their lawsuit against Musk on July 12. On September 13, 2022, Twitter shareholders voted in favour, to approve Elon Musk's takeover of the company.
Revue is a service which lets writers create email newsletters and offer free or paid subscriptions to them. Revue was founded in the Netherlands in 2015 and acquired by Twitter on January 26, 2021.
On October 5, 2012, Twitter acquired a video clip company called Vine that launched in January 2013. 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. On October 27, 2016, Twitter announced that it would disable all uploads, but that viewing and download would continue to work. On January 20, 2017, Twitter launched an Internet archive of all Vine videos that had ever been published. The archive was officially discontinued in April 2019.
On March 13, 2015, Twitter announced its acquisition of Periscope, an app that allowed live streaming of video. Periscope was launched on March 26, 2015. Due to declining usage, product realignment, and high maintenance costs the service was discontinued on March 31, 2021. However, past Periscope videos can still be watched via Twitter and most of its core features are now incorporated into the app.
Crashlytics and Fabric
Twitter acquired Crashlytics, a crash reporting tool for developers, on January 28, 2013, for over US$100 million, its largest acquisition at the time. Twitter committed to continue supporting and expanding the service.
In October 2014, Twitter announced Fabric, a suite of mobile developer tools built around Crashlytics. Fabric brought together Crashlytics, Answers (mobile app analytics), Beta (mobile app distribution), Digits (mobile app identity and authentication services), MoPub, and TwitterKit (login with Twitter and Tweet display functionality) into a single, modular SDK, allowing developers to pick and choose which features they needed while guaranteeing ease of installation and compatibility. By building Fabric on top of Crashlytics, Twitter was able to take advantage of Crashlytics' large adoption and device footprint to rapidly scale usage of MoPub and TwitterKit. Fabric reached active distribution across 1 billion mobile devices just 8 months after its launch.
In early 2016, Twitter announced that Fabric was installed on more than 2 billion active devices and used by more than 225,000 developers. Fabric is recognized as the #1 most popular crash reporting and also the #1 mobile analytics solution among the top 200 iOS apps, beating out Google Analytics, Flurry, and MixPanel. In January 2017, Google acquired Fabric from Twitter and later integrated it into their Firebase platform.
On January 28, 2013, Twitter acquired Crashlytics in order to build out its mobile developer products. On August 28, 2013, Twitter acquired Trendrr, followed by the acquisition of MoPub on September 9, 2013.
On June 4, 2014, Twitter announced that it would acquire Namo Media, a technology firm specializing in "native advertising" for mobile devices. 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. The company was helping broadcasters and rights holders to share video content both organically across social and via Twitter's Amplify program. 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. On July 31, 2014, Twitter announced that it had acquired a small password-security startup called Mitro. 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.
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. The acquisition price was reportedly $50 million. Twitter announced that it had acquired TellApart, a commerce ads tech firm, with $532 million stock. In June 2016, Twitter acquired an artificial intelligence startup called Magic Pony for $150 million.
In November and December 2021, Twitter acquired and immediately shut down two competitors: threader.app, a service to transform Twitter threads into accessible web pages, and Quill, a messaging service. Threader.app users were directed to instead purchase the Twitter Blue service, which at the time was available only in some countries.
Leadershipchief executive officer, Dorsey saw the startup through two rounds of capital funding by the venture capitalists who backed the company. On October 16, 2008, Williams took over the role of CEO, and Dorsey became chairman of the board. 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".
According to The New York Times, "Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Costolo forged a close relationship" when Williams was away. 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]." 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.
In September 2011, board members and investors Fred Wilson and Bijan Sabet resigned from Twitter's board of directors. In October 2012, Twitter announced it had hired former Google executive Matt Derella to become their new director of business agency development. 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". On June 10, 2015, Twitter announced its CEO Dick Costolo would resign on July 1, 2015. Noto was said to be considered a potential replacement for outgoing CEO Costolo. On October 14, 2015, former Google chief business officer Omid Kordestani became executive chairman, replacing Dorsey who remains CEO. 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. In November 2016, COO Adam Bain announced his resignation and CFO Anthony Noto took over Bain's role. A month later, on December 20, 2016, CTO Adam Messinger announced that he too was leaving.
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. Twitter agreed to appoint a new independent director and two new board members, and to perform $2 billion in share buybacks.
List of chairmen
- Jack Dorsey (2008–2015)
- Omid Kordestani (2015–2020)
- Patrick Pichette (2020–2021)
- Bret Taylor (2021–present)
List of CEOs
- Jack Dorsey (2006–2008); first term
- Evan Williams (2008–2010)
- Dick Costolo (2010–2015)
- Jack Dorsey (2015–2021); second term
- Parag Agrawal (2021–present)
in mil. US$
in mil. US$
in mil. US$
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. Its second B round of funding in 2008 was for US$22 million 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. Twitter is backed by Union Square Ventures, Digital Garage, Spark Capital, and Bezos Expeditions.
The company raised US$200 million in new venture capital in December 2010, at a valuation of approximately US$3.7 billion. 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. 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.
Stock launch and tax issues
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. It revealed its prospectus in an 800-page filing. Twitter planned to raise US$1 billion as the basis for its stock market debut. 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. In an October 15, 2013, amendment to their SEC S-1 filing, 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. On November 6, 2013, 70 million shares were priced at US$26 and issued by lead underwriter Goldman Sachs.
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. 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. 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.
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. Later The New York Times reported that Russian-American billionaire Yuri Milner had strong Kremlin backing for his investments in Facebook and Twitter.
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