Once upon an Internet moment, Twitter was a big deal. Then a braggadocious billionaire bought the company and within minutes the social media platform’s engine began to sputter and its wheels flatten.
Flash forward to the present. An internal presentation obtained by The New York Times reveals that Twitter’s U.S. advertising revenue for the five weeks from April 1 to the first week of May was $88 million, down 59 percent from a year earlier. For a company that relies on advertising for up to 90 percent of its revenue, this is a precipitous drop and a real concern.
At a Twitter Space audio event, Elon Musk said advertisers have put “extreme pressure” on the company, leading “half our advertising” to disappear. “They are trying to drive Twitter bankrupt,” he added.
But why would marketers with goods and services in need of promotion want Twitter to disappear? They wouldn’t. Here’s a better question: Why would Twitter’s new proprietor seek to externalize blame?
It may have something to do with his personality. Or it could be that Twitter’s valuation has plunged since the company was acquired last year. Last week, the mutual funds giant Fidelity, which owns shares in Twitter, valued the company at $15 billion. If Fidelity’s numbers are correct, Twitter is worth $29 billion fewer dollars than it was last year when Musk bought the company for $44B.
Tweet, tweet. This is an extraordinary “fail harder” moment.
Also, help me out here…when it’s lost, where exactly does $29 billion go?
On the surface, Twitter is the same company it was before the acquisition. Its core offerings haven’t changed. What changed is public perception. Sure, Twitter has a lion’s share of operational challenges—also brought about by its new leader—but none of them are costing the company the sort of monumental losses that its weakened reputation is responsible for.
Twitter’s brand reputation is worse than tarnished. It’s been shat upon and discarded. To the tune of $29B. If we were not constantly distracted by all the AI-related bullshit that “The Valley” is cramming up our collective asses, this news might even astound us.