Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Twitter slashes staff with revenue under pressure

Published:Friday | October 28, 2016 | 12:00 AM
The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, October 27, 2016.

Twitter, seemingly unable to find a buyer and losing money, is cutting about nine per cent of its employees worldwide.

The social media site has failed to keep pace with rivals Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram and in recent months, rumours that it would be acquired have run rampant.

Shares of Twitter, which have tumbled 27 per cent in the past month as possible suitors have wandered away, rose four per cent before the opening bell on Thursday.

The San Francisco company said it expects to take US$10 million to US$20 million in charges as it lays off more than 300 of its 3,860 workers.

"We have a clear plan, and we're making the necessary changes to ensure Twitter is positioned for long-term growth," CEO Jack Dorsey said in a company release.

Since the end of 2014, Twitter has lured 15 million monthly users to expand its audience to 313 million people. In that same period, Facebook brought in 319 million users, expanding its reach to 1.7 billion people.

Twitter's service is used heavily by celebrities, journalists and politicians, giving it an outsize role in public discourse. But it has struggled to extend that appeal to a broader audience and has wrestled uncomfortably with bullying on its site and racist posts.

Twitter is placing a big bet on live video, and recently landed a high-profile deal to show National Football League games over 10 Thursdays. It wants to be the go-to place to share opinions in real time.

"But management appears unfocused and complacent, while the narrative has shifted to buyout rumours," wrote Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter.

Pachter believes that Twitter remains too complicated for most users despite numerous attempts to change that.

On Thursday, Twitter said that average monthly active users climbed three per cent to 317 million during its third quarter, while average daily active usage increased seven per cent.

Twitter Inc posted a loss of US$102.9 million, or 15 cents per share. Adjusted profit of 13 cents per share on revenue of US$616 million. Analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research expected earnings of nine cents per share on revenue of US$605.7 million.

Advertising revenue rose six per cent to US$545 million, with mobile advertising making up 90 per cent of the total ad revenue.

Twitter said that it was not giving revenue forecasts for the fourth quarter or full year due to restructuring in its sales department.

- AP