Since Obama bundler Chris Sacca led the board of directors coup to fire CEO Dick Costolo in June, Twitter has fallen from number 3 to number 7 in social media popularity, and the stock price has lost $12 billion in value.
Twitter Inc.’s (NYSE:TWTR) latest disaster is the January 9th yanking of “verified account” status for Breitbart News’s technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who has 140,000 Twitter followers. The virally popular maven, who is listed as a top writer on the Drudge Report’s front page, was suspended for “recent violations of the Twitter Rules.”
The blatant corporate enforcement of politically correct thought set-off the biggest blogosphere fire-storm since a similar type of move in July by Reddit CEO Ellen Pao. That bone-headed action led to a disastrous Reddit user boycott and a 100,000-name petition drive that forced Pao to resign.
Under the hashtag “#JeSuisMilo,” the spiking of Yiannopoulos became Twitter’s #1 top topic in the U.K., U.S., and Canada. It trended #3 worldwide for several hours, with 50,000 tweets. The user retaliatory response now is a serious corporate threat.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, who was ousted in June, was deeply loved by Twitter employees and had a social media community reputation for not muzzling thought.
Costol’s “Abusive Behavior Policy” was the fairness-in-social-media gold standard:
Users are allowed to post content, including potentially inflammatory content, provided they do not violate the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service. Twitter does not screen content and does not remove potentially offensive content unless such content is in violation of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service.
Despite being headquartered in the People’s Republic of San Francisco, Costolo had won praise for not knuckling under to leftists’ thought police and for building the company’s monthly-active-user (MAU) base to 316 million.
The ability to capture a wide spectrum of users was credited with making Twitter the #3 most popular social media company. The company had just reported revenues for the March quarter jumped 74 percent to $436 million, just before Costolo June 11 ousting.
In a June 9 analysis of user data, The Week reported that liberals and conservatives on Twitter used language differently. Liberals, said the report, are more “emotional.” Conservatives, more “religious.”
The study found that Republicans tend to be followed more than they follow; while Democrats tend to follow accounts more than they are followed. Liberals tend to use “I” more and show a tendency toward egocentrism; conservatives are more likely toward group identity. Liberal language tends toward anxiety and emotionalism; whereas conservatives show bias toward religion and “negative sentiment.”
But Chris Sacca claimed Costolo had to go because Twitter’s annual MAU growth had been cut in half to +14 percent, causing the stock to fall by -14 percent over the preceding year, shaving the market cap by -$4 billion.
There was enormous suspicion regarding the true motives of the Silicon Valley multimillionaire who has been a huge Democrat money-machine. Sacca raised at least $500,000 as a top 2012 Obama campaign bundler, co-chaired and gave $50,000 for the inauguration, and chipped in $30,000 to other Democrats, according to Open Secrets.
Sacca’s whatisleft.org biography states that he “proudly worked on President Barack Obama’s campaign as a Telecommunications, Media, and Technology advisor, a speaking surrogate, a field office volunteer, and as Co-Chair of Finance and a Trustee of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.”
Sacca is revered by progressives for authoring 2008 talking points that Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin was a “proprietary blend of xenophobia, division, and exclusion.” He added, “She underestimated America and her naiveté made me smile.”
The company’s stock jumped by 7 percent the night Costolo left, after founder Jack Dorsey was made interim CEO and reassured users that Twitter would continue its impartiality. He later declared that Twitter lets users speak “truth to power.”
When Costolo was exiled in June, Twitter was the #3 most popular social media site, behind Facebook and Instagram, according from Mizuho Securities. But the company is now #7, having since been passed by Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. Twitter is also on the verge of being eclipsed by Whisper, Dating App, and Tumblr.
With Costolo gone for 7 months, Twitter’s stock market value has tanked by $12 billion and is now trading at an all-time-low of about $19. Much of that crash is due to Twitter no longer being seen as the gold standard in fairness for social media.
The self-destructive corporate move against Milo Yiannopoulos will put on steroids the perception of intolerance at Twitter and make the company even more irrelevant to the social media user community.