Twitter has been making headlines almost every day of late, following the brouhaha that led Tesla CEO Elon Musk to snap up the microblogging platform. This time too, Twitter makes headline but for a different reason — because it has overstated its user numbers.
The company revealed in its earnings release for the first quarter of this year that, Twitter miscalculated the number of daily users on the platform, overcounting by up to 1.9 million users every quarter from Q1 2019 to Q4 2021 — that’s for three years in a row.
Again, this isn’t the first time Twitter did this blunder. In 2017, the micro-blogging site said that over the preceding three years, it miscalculated its user counts by 1 million to 2 million users.
This time, the problem was caused by Twitter incorrectly counting many accounts as active when they were all linked to a single user, even though they weren’t all active at the same time.
Twitter now has around 229 million daily users, with a rise of more than 12 million over the previous quarter’s exaggerated figure, its highest rise in users since the height of the pandemic.
However, it reported a $128 million operating loss on revenue of $1.2 billion. Twitter said that revenue and advertisement sales had fallen short of expectations mainly due to the ongoing war in Ukraine- Russia and other global crises.
Twitter has long faced criticism for its sluggish pace of product launches. Elon Musk had tweeted suggestions ranging from releasing a widely-demanded edit button to making the Twitter algorithm open-source. Now that Musk buys the social media platform for $44 billion there are ample opportunities, yet a lot of ongoing challenges he has to counter.
The company reportedly needs to add at least 12 million users every quarter until the end of next year to achieve its ambitious goals to have 315 million monetisable daily active users by the end of 2023 that it has set for itself.