Tag Archives: Twitter

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey snaps up shares worth about $9.5 million


(Reuters) – Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey snapped up more than half a million of the company’s shares for about $ 9.5 million, a regulatory filing on Friday showed.

Dorsey bought 574,002 Twitter shares in multiple transactions at prices ranging between $ 16.47 and $ 16.74 per share, according to the filing.

That adds to the roughly $ 7 million worth of Twitter stock Dorsey bought earlier this year, bringing the total number of shares he has purchased this year to 1 million, the CEO said in a tweet.

According to the filing, Dorsey now owns about 16 million Twitter shares, which equates to a stake of about 2.2 percent in the company he co-founded.

Dorsey’s disclosure comes a day after Twitter reported better-than-expected user growth for its first quarter, following several quarters of stalled growth.

Twitter’s shares rose 1 percent to $ 16.65 after the bell on Friday.

The stock closed up nearly 5 percent in regular trading on Friday, adding to a gain of roughly 8 percent on Thursday when the company reported its results.

(Reporting by Narottam Medhora in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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Twitter simplifies API platform, publishes 2017 developer roadmap


Twitter wants you to know that it hasn’t given up on developers and that it’s charging forward with efforts to make it easier for them to build applications on its platform. Today, the company announced a more “unified” API platform, which it said came about through feedback gleaned from its #HelloWorld tour last year. In addition to adding new features and streamlining APIs, Twitter has published its 2017 roadmap so developers can be aware of upcoming improvements.

“One of the most common requests we hear from developers is for an easy and predictable way to smoothly scale access to Twitter’s APIs,” wrote company staff developer advocate Andy Piper, in a blog post. While developers generally have access to the standard REST and streaming APIs, the real power comes through Gnip, the company Twitter acquired in 2014. The disparity between the haves and have-nots caused some soul-searching on Twitter’s part, and later this year the company plans to launch a “new developer experience” that merges the free and easy access of the REST and streaming APIs with the enterprise-level features of Gnip.

“The goal is to create an integrated Twitter API platform that serves everyone, from an individual developer testing a new idea to Twitter’s largest enterprise partners,” Piper said. As a result, there will now be individual APIs for accessing the Twitter firehose and tweet archive and for receiving real-time activities for an account — including tweets, direct messages, likes, and follows.

Twitter will also implement new tiers of access, with a free plan for those needing access to test and build new products; a self-serve, paid tier with undisclosed advance functionality and higher rate limits; and an enterprise-level plan targeted at strategic partners. Specific pricing has not been revealed, but the company promised that it’ll “clearly define” the scope and costs for each tier.

Forthcoming developer products

Above: Developers line up in front of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, Calif. for Twitter’s Flight conference on October 21, 2015.

While the upgraded platform experience won’t be available until later, Twitter has some news about developer products. Starting today, app makers can take advantage of the following:

  • An Account Activity API available in beta that provides a feed of real-time activities around individual accounts. (Later, Twitter will update this API to include replies, @mentions, retweets, likes, follows, and more. It’ll also have enterprise features to facilitate large-scale access.)
  • New endpoints for sending and receiving direct messages that also support quick replies, something Twitter recently introduced but delivered through webhooks.
  • New endpoints for welcome messages within direct messages that enable delivery through webhooks.

But as new products come online, legacy services will be retired, and the latest casualties include feeds for user and site streams, which have been replaced by the Account Activity API. The direct message REST endpoints will eventually replace the existing send and retrieve message endpoints. Developers shouldn’t panic about the change, however, because Twitter plans to “provide at least a six-month migration window” after the newest services emerge from beta.

“We see a huge opportunity for businesses to harness the power of Twitter in all aspects of their operations — from responding to customer needs and creating delightful customer experiences to identifying emerging trends, making better products, and more,” Piper said. “By supporting developers who are building to address unique business needs, we’ll create new sources of revenue and a better experience for everyone. The value created through these efforts is ultimately good for anyone building on our platform, as it will fund the investments that will support the innovations of tomorrow.”

The future of Twitter’s platform

Above: Screenshot of Twitter’s API platform roadmap for 2017.

Image Credit: Twitter

Twitter doesn’t want you to think of its developer platform reorganization as a course correction but rather as a significant investment it’s making around engineering and product. Through this evolution, the company is likely adjusting to developers’ needs, which have changed over the past few years.

And while Twitter has long admitted that it screwed up its relationship with developers in the past, to reinforce the message that it cares about the community, the company has published its 2017 roadmap, taking a similar approach to Slack’s. The idea is to keep developers informed about what activities and updates will be made over the next 12 months so as to provide enough time for them to give feedback and adapt to the changes.

The roadmap is available through a Trello board and is not broken out by timeline, but rather by stages. You’ll be able to see what ideas are being thought about, being incubated, and are in active production. Features Twitter is already pondering include additional APIs with self-managed access and additional endpoints. The team is also considering developing advanced search capabilities — something that would provide free access to a seven-day lookback window and higher fidelity data retrieval than is currently possible, as well as tools to scale and manage API access, improved documentation and tooling, and more.

Rebuilding trust

Above: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey onstage at the Flight developer conference on October 21, 2015 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, Calif.

Image Credit: Ken Yeung/VentureBeat

Some developers are likely still wary of Twitter, with reluctance to trust the company stretching back years to when Twitter first held its Chirp conference. “Somewhere along the line, our relationship with developers got confusing, unpredictable,” said company chief executive Jack Dorsey in 2015, as he apologized for how developers had been treated. He pleaded for a reset of relations, and the developer evangelist team embarked on the #HelloWorld tour with the message: Give Twitter another chance.

For a while, things seemed to improve, and the company appeared to be listening to feedback from the community. But then Twitter’s evangelists started to leave, first former developer relations head Jeff Sandquist, then senior developer advocate Romain Huet, platform relations lead Prashant Sridharan, and developer advocate lead Bear Douglas.

Something that surprised many was Google’s acquisition earlier this year of the company’s mobile developer platform, Fabric. Seeking to assuage fear about the stability of Twitter’s developer platform, Dorsey emphasized that investment would still be made into core products and business, as well as into Twitter’s public APIs, Twitter Kit, TweetDeck, MoPub, and Gnip.

Today’s announcement appears to be a sign of that investment, and shows the company doubling down on APIs and Gnip in an effort to strengthen something developers are already using. Twitter declined to provide numbers for how many developers currently use its tools.

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Twitter explores interest in paid version of TweetDeck with more analytics


Twitter is testing the waters to see if highly engaged users would be interested in a paid subscription version of TweetDeck. There’s no indication to suggest that such a service will be available soon, but the idea could be to give power users and brands the tools to maximize reach on the service and showcase its real potential.

“We’re conducting a survey to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck,” a company spokesperson told VentureBeat in a statement. “We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we’re exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals.”

Journalist Andrew Tavani spotted the survey and flagged it on (where else?) Twitter. In the survey, people are asked whether they would like an “advanced TweetDeck experience,” one that would help them keep track of what’s happening in the world, get more insights, and “see the broadest range of what people are saying on Twitter.” If brought to life, this version would be available for an undetermined monthly fee and would provide features to post, view, and receive alerts, trends, and more analytics than the rest of the 319 million monthly active users on the platform receive.

If you’re not familiar with TweetDeck, it’s a social media management tool similar to Hootsuite and was acquired by Twitter in 2011. And while Twitter has rolled out a host of changes and updates, it has done little to really update the TweetDeck experience. So this premium subscription version could be significant, transforming the tool into a more robust command center that lets brands and highly active users manage their presence, especially around how to communicate with followers and handle promoted tweets, livestreams through Periscope, and more.

One of Jack Dorsey’s priorities as Twitter chief executive has been to make the service easier to use, and while there’s a focus on bringing new users onboard, there’s also a need to help existing users optimize their time on the service. An advanced version of TweetDeck could alleviate some of these issues, while also opening up a new revenue stream for Twitter.

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Twitter donates $1 million to ACLU to battle Trump’s immigration ban


Twitter and staff have donated more than $ 1 million to help the American Civil Liberties Union fight President Donald Trump and his immigration ban. With this move, the popular social media platform joins a long list of fellow tech companies that have pledged their support to ACLU’s cause. Following hefty contributions from Google, Uber and Lyft, the ACLU has reportedly accumulated over $ 24 million in online donations over the past few days. According to TechCrunch, nearly a thousand Twitter employees pledged the sum of $ 500,000, which was later matched by CEO Jack Dorsey and executive chairman Omid Kordestani. Among other industry heavyweights, Stripe…

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Twitter shares 2 redacted National Security Letters from the FBI

At the Twitter Flight developer conference in San Francisco on Oct. 21.


Twitter today published redacted versions of two National Security Letters (NSLs) that it received from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the past two years.

Typically, these information requests are under gag order, meaning that recipients can’t even disclose their existence to their users or the people who are targeted by the requests. But the FBI “recently informed us that the gag orders have been lifted and that we may notify the account holders,” Elizabeth Banker, associate general counsel for global law enforcement at Twitter, wrote in a blog post.

The move comes a few weeks after Cloudflare published a redacted NSL that it received in 2013, and Google in December posted eight it had received. This is the first time Twitter is indicating that it has been served NSLs.

One NSL, drafted in September 2015 by Michelle Klimt, special agent in charge of FBI’s Jacksonville, Florida division, sought information on a single account from December 1, 2014 up until the present. The other, which is dated June 10, 2016 and came from Michael Anderson, acting special agent in charge at FBI’s Houston division, demanded information for an account “from inception to present.” (The term “present” means the date that the recipient processes the NSL.)

Both were addressed to Twitter general counsel Vijaya Gadde. And both letters asked for the names, addresses, length of services, and “electronic communications transactional records for all services” for the account holders in question, whose identities are redacted.

“We continue to believe that reporting in government-mandated bands does not provide meaningful transparency to the public or those using our service,” Banker wrote. “However, the government argues that any numerical reporting more detailed than the bands in the USA Freedom Act would be classified and as such not protected by the First Amendment. They further argue that Twitter is not entitled to obtain information from the government about the processes followed in classifying a version [of] Twitter’s 2013 Transparency Report or in classifying/declassifying decisions associated with the allowed bands. We would like a meaningful opportunity to challenge government restrictions when ‘classification’ prevents speech on issues of public importance.”

In October, Twitter said it had 317 million monthly active users.

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Twitter testing new layout for Moments

Twitter Moments


Twitter is currently testing at least one new layout for its Moments product, showcasing related tweets in a timeline-like format instead of its de facto flipbook-style. Because it’s a test, it’s not guaranteed to actually become available to the masses.

Twitter is testing out a new timeline-like layout for Moments.

Above: Twitter is testing out a new timeline-like layout for Moments.

Image Credit: Ken Yeung/VentureBeat

A company spokesperson confirmed to VentureBeat that a test was indeed taking place, saying that it was limited to a small group of people.

It seems the test is limited to Twitter’s mobile app for now.

Twitter Moments launched in 2015 and became part of the company’s efforts to market itself. While at first it was limited to curated publishers such as BuzzFeed, Entertainment Weekly, Getty Images, NASA, The New York Times, Vogue, and Major League Baseball, it gradually opened up to more celebrities and influencers until every user had access. When viewed, individual Moments appeared in a gallery-like format where you swiped to read associated tweets.

Now, some users are noticing that instead of swiping through Moments, all of the curated tweets appear in a chronological timeline, not too dissimilar from what you’d find on the main Twitter feed.

Since it’s a test, there’s no telling when it will be more widely available and whether it will supplement the current layouts that exist within Moments or replace them.

Of course, there may be some who question whether this was the best use of the company’s resources, especially as Twitter is continually searching for itself. Updating the way Moments appear wasn’t exactly on the list of things that CEO Jack Dorsey highlighted as things he’d consider fixing this year. In fact, eliminating harassment and enabling tweet editing were the two most requested features from users.

The updated Moments design certainly fits in with the rest of the Twitter app, and also looks cleaner, which could go some way in helping users better understand the service, which has been one of Dorsey’s strategies since taking over as CEO in 2015.

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Twitter admits ‘technical error’ in product update impacted video ad campaign reporting

Twitter's logo on display at the company's 2016 Flight developer conference in San Francisco, Calif.


Twitter has acknowledged that it incorrectly calculated video advertising metrics with the result likely impacting some campaigns between November 7 and December 12. The company placed the blame on a “technical error” from a product update made to its Android app and said that the issue has since been resolved.

In a rather opaque statement, Twitter said that it has since notified affected advertisers and is “confident it has been resolved” because it’s not a policy or definition issue. Although not disclosed by the company, Business Insider has reported that this bug inflated video ad metrics by as much as 35 percent.

When reached out for more information, a company spokesperson remarked, “We recently discovered a technical error due to a Twitter product update to Android clients that affected some video ad campaigns from November 7 to December 12. Once we discovered the issue, we resolved it and communicated the impact to affected partners. Given this was a technical error, not a policy or definition issue, we are confident it has been resolved.”

It’s also said that those impacted will be receiving refunds for the overbilling. Sources familiar with the matter shared that while 35 percent appears to be a lot, many affected advertisers will likely be reimbursed $ 1, suggesting that this event may not have that large an impact. However, the fact that Twitter disclosed a metric bug is noteworthy as it seems to be one of the first times the company has had to recalculate ad metrics.

But Twitter isn’t the first one to have to reveal this error. Fellow social media service Facebook has had to humble itself in front of advertisers repeatedly this year, announcing that it has had to readjust metrics multiple times, including for its estimated reach, streaming reactions, Graph API, around how it measured video viewership and more.

Nevertheless, the frequency at which services like Twitter and Facebook are disclosing may cause advertisers to worry, since they’re devoting huge budgets to this promising new age of marketing only to find out that there are discrepancies in reporting, which affects their return — and their trust. Additionally, how will today’s revelation impact Twitter’s relationship with brands as it seeks to keep itself afloat and prove that it’s something to bet big on?

“We will continue to monitor our systems to proactively identify issues. We value our customers’ trust in our service and will continue to provide support and transparency in our partnership,” the company said.

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Twitter COO Adam Bain is stepping down, CFO Anthony Noto takes over

Adam Bain.


Twitter today is announcing that one of its longtime executives, Adam Bain, is stepping down from his post of chief operating officer. Anthony Noto, the company’s chief financial officer, will take over the COO responsibility on top of his current work while Twitter looks for a new CFO.

Bain joined Twitter from Fox Interactive Media in 2010. Noto arrived at Twitter in 2014 after working as co-head of global TMT investment banking at Goldman Sachs.

“As chief operating officer, Mr. Noto will continue to lead the live content business and assume responsibility for Twitter’s revenue-generating organizations, including global advertising sales, data, revenue product and MoPub, as well as global partnerships and business development,” Twitter said in a regulatory filing.

Bain sent his resignation on November 7 and will stick around to ease the transition in the coming weeks.

Twitter has been under pressure for months; Salesforce was reportedly looking to acquire the company — Google and Disney were also reported to be interested — but nothing of that nature has been announced. Recently the company made layoffs.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Twitter shares jump more than 20% on reports of possible acquisition by Google or Salesforce

At the Twitter Flight developer conference in San Francisco on Oct. 21.


It’s no secret that Twitter is open to acquisition offers, but a new report suggests that the social network has received expressions of interest from at least two notable tech companies — Google and Salesforce.

According to CNBC, Twitter may receive a formal bid “shortly,” with Twitter’s board keen to strike a deal. Though no actual sale is imminent, according to the report, CNBC cites a source as saying that talks are gaining momentum, and something could materialize by end of the year.

Twitter has been suffering growing pains of late, both in terms of user numbers and revenues, which has fueled speculation that an exit to a larger company would be a likely outcome. Twitter’s shares have pretty much been in perpetual freefall over the past couple of years, dropping from a $ 69 high in early 2014 to about $ 14 in May this year. At close of markets yesterday, Twitter’s shares were sitting at $ 18.49, but at the time of writing they’re at more than $ 22, a rise in excess of 20 percent on yesterday. Notably, it’s also the highest Twitter’s shares have been since January this year.

TwitterShares20

While companies such as Google and Microsoft have long been touted as potential buyers, the addition of Salesforce to the mix is interesting — it doesn’t seem like a natural fit on the surface. Why would an enterprise SaaS company wish to procure a platform synonymous with bite-sized nuggets of information and trolls? Well, Salesforce is known to have missed out on acquiring LinkedIn — which went to Microsoft — so Twitter could offer a way for Salesforce to become more active in the real-time information realm. Of course, it would have to focus any product on business use-cases. Long story short, Twitter is a tempting target due to the masses of data it holds, and this pretty much means it’s an alluring proposition for any firm that feeds on data. That said, it’s hard to imagine a world in which Twitter is owned by Salesforce.

While Twitter’s shares are gearing up to reach their highest point in 2016, Salesforce shares actually hit a six-month low after this news dropped. Make of that what you will…

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Twitter testing Periscope feature that pulls video from external sources

periscope


Twitter is testing a feature in Periscope that lets a limited number of broadcasters incorporate video from external sources, meaning that soon you may no longer be restricted to livestreaming video from your mobile device, GoPro camera, or drones. Should this experiment work well, creators could be empowered to spruce up their broadcasts, something that takes a page out of YouTube’s playbook and will likely appeal to influencers.

“We’re always testing new functionality that gives our broadcasters the ability to create great content,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to VentureBeat.

Matt Navarra tweet Periscope

Some users may notice a label for certain broadcasts that reads: “Beta test of new broadcast feature incorporating external video in Periscope.” This feature represents on-going efforts by Twitter to reach out to influencers, something that chief executive Jack Dorsey has outlined as a focal point for 2016.

The feature will allow content creators to kick their broadcasts up a notch, especially as they talk about live events. In fact, one of most recent demonstrations of this offering come from broadcaster Alex Pettitt on Thursday, with coverage of the SpaceX rocket explosion. Instead of pre-recording video and then editing it in post-production, creators will have an easier time posting high-quality video in real time.

The incorporation of video from external sources follows recent changes Twitter has made, including helping creators monetize their work through its Amplify Publisher program and enabling them to add pre-roll ads to their videos. Additionally, the company has included Periscope in that same initiative, which means ads are coming to the livestreaming app for select broadcasters.

In the battle of live video, Twitter is going full steam ahead to capture the attention of creators, a group that remains very much in-demand. YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter are all vying for these creators’ content and audience because that leads to not only more advertising impressions, but also more users and activity across their properties.

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