Twitter Cut Revenue Target By More Than AU$700m As World Cup Fails To Boost Ad Spend

Twitter Cut Revenue Target By More Than AU$700m As World Cup Fails To Boost Ad Spend

Twitter had previously projected that it would generate AU$2.06 billion in the last three months of this year but, with ad revenue faltering, that number has been reduced to $1.62 billion.

In the last three months of 2021 — still in the midst of the pandemic in many countries — the company had expected to earn $2.36 billion.

Twitter kept missing its internal weekly advertising targets and reduced its overall forecast to $1.92 before dropping the number again to just over $1.6 billion.

The timing, according to The New York Times, does not bode well for the company. The FIFA World Cup typically offers a boom in usage and ad dollars as the world looks to comment on the matches and sling muck at opposition fans. However, when the tournament started on 21 November, ad revenue was running at 80 per cent below internal expectations.

Advertisers have reportedly been fleeing Twitter over concerns that the platform is not brand safe. However, despite reports of hate speech surging on the platform, the company’s new vice president of trust and safety product Ella Irwin, said that Musk had “empowered” her team to “move fast and be as aggressive as possible.”

This also included an increased use of automated moderation tools rather than relying on teams of human content moderators. This slightly more blunt approach will likely result in some offensive content remaining but it will likely be faster to react to the content it does flag.

In an interview given one day before Twitter re-banned Kanye West for tweeting a picture of a swastika merged with a Star of David, Irwin said that the company was using automated tools to restrict abuse-prone hashtags and search results in areas including child exploitation.

However, despite Musk saying previously that he was a free-speech absolutist, Irwin added that Musk “emphasises… every single day, multiple times a day” that safety was the company’s top priority. In fact, Musk apparently told Irwin’s team that they should not worry how their actions would affect user growth or revenue.

But the company’s new “freedom of speech, not freedom of reach” modus operandi means that certain tweets that violate its own content moderation policies will be left up but will be barred from appearing in places such as the home timeline and search results.

Irwin also said that the company’s recent layoffs did not significantly impact full-time employees or contractors working on its “Health division” and there was no impact on content moderation in critical areas like child safety. However, two sources familiar with the layoffs said that the Health team’s headcount was halved.

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