Twitter is a really important forum for the culture war. And Elon Musk has figured out a way to profit from panicking the elite into frantically trying to save Twitter from free speech. But is the social media platform really worth anything?
Twitter said on Thursday that its revenue grew more slowly than analysts had expected in the last quarter of 2021, and the company predicted that it would report a loss in the current quarter. But it added new users, potentially easing concerns that it was having a hard time drawing interest in an increasingly diverse market for social media.
Twitter reported revenue of $1.56 billion in the final three months of 2021, a 22 percent increase from a year earlier but lower than analyst expectations. Twitter said it had earned $176 million in income, a 34 percent decline from a year earlier. The company said it had 217 million daily active users who see ads, a 13 percent increase.
Twitter also announced that its board had authorized a $4 billion buyback of its stock. The company plans to repurchase $2 billion of its shares on what it described as an accelerated timeline, with the remaining $2 billion to be purchased over time. The plan follows a $2 billion buyback that was authorized in 2020, although $819 million of that program remained unspent.
This is part of the subtext for the battle underway with Musk and hedge funds jumping into the party.
Healthy Big Tech companies wouldn’t be attracting this kind of attention. It’s specifically happening to social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, because of how notoriously fragile they are.
And the extent to which they’re another pyramid scheme.
Twitter earned substantially less in the fourth quarter than it did a year ago, the result of a surge in expenses. That reality didn’t much dampen investors’ mood on Thursday as they sent the shares up 7% in pre-market trading.
What’s Twitter’s pathway to profitability? Ads? Not gonna work. Paid accounts? About the only option, but won’t be enough either.
Twitter has elite users, but no viable business model.