Twitter’s stock is crashing, down nearly 5 per cent in the week it went to war with conservative media by unverifying Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
The media response was unanimous and deafening: CNN Money said the manoeuvre had backfired horribly. Yiannopoulos has acquired over 20,000 new followers since Twitter began to punish him for perceived infractions.
Twitter continues to plunge in popularity while banning, suspending and unverifying users apparently merely for expressing conservative views, a view echoed not just by right-leaning outlets but also by The Week. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday on Twitter’s intransigence in explaining itself.
A Bloomberg senior analyst said this morning that user engagement, the behaviour of Twitter’s power users and transparency about the company’s product strategy are all concerns for investors. All three problems are relevant to Twitter’s new politically-motivated approach to its identity verification system.
Twitter’s stock hit another record low on Tuesday, despite the major indexes being up, the Dow posting a triple-digit gain, NASDAQ halting an eight-day slide, and other social-media stocks like Facebook and Google doing well. It doesn’t look like alienating a large chunk of the user base is a good business strategy.
Bloomberg reports that Yiannopoulos and Twitter are now in a stand-off, with Yiannopoulos vowing not to change his behaviour on the network, which he says does not break any rules, and Twitter refusing to disclose the reasons for their punitive action.
Yiannopoulos will be on Channel 4 News in the UK tonight and Fox Business tomorrow to discuss the crisis at Twitter.
Twitter closed on Wednesday down almost another 5%.
— Charles Grovner ✘ (@screenwriter) January 13, 2016