If you like to stay in the know of everything going on in the world in a digestible 280-character snippet, you're probably a fan of Twitter. Here are the top five facts you should know about the social media platform, its beginnings and possibly its future.
How Twitter started
Twitter got its start in 2006 with founders Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams, Noah Glass —who all happened to be friends. The microblogging social network was born out of a brainstorming session at Williams’ and Glass’ co-founded podcasting company, Odeo, according to a report by tech news site Lifewire.
The first tweet went up on March 21, 2006 by Dorsey and said, “just setting up my twttr.” Interestingly enough, the test post has earned over 100,000 retweets and likes.
Glass, who was reportedly an essential software developer in the early stages of Twitter, was excluded from further projects in the company after Dorsey, Stone and Williams facilitated a buyback from Twitter’s first group of investors. At the time of the official launch, Dorsey took on the role of CEO, Williams went on to be board member and investor while Stone became the co-founder who built up Twitter’s culture.
Throughout the years, the media company went through a shuffle of business leaders, but these three co-founders are most known to have built Twitter up to what it is today.
Twitter took off in 2007 after the festival South by Southwest (SXSW) saw, “more than 60,000 tweets were sent per day at the event,” according to Lifewire.
Initially, Twitter only allowed posts to have 140 characters. However, that was increased to 280 characters after a decade.
Twitter goes public
Twitter made its debut in the stock market with an initial public offer “at $26 a piece” on Nov. 7, 2013. The trading open was at $45.10 and the trading close was $44.90.
Twitter announced its total annual revenue for the fiscal year of 2018 in a press release that covered fourth quarter earnings—which was a self-reported $3 billion. While this amount isn’t anything to laugh at, it is far from Facebook’s reported $55.8 billion in total revenue for that same period.
Twitter’s market cap is approximately at $31.96 billion, according to the NASDAQ.
Twitter’s acquisitions and business ventures
Twitter has made numerous acquisitions and mergers aside from its own business ventures. In the early days, many of Twitter’s purchases were in varied domain names and then eventually went on to larger social media and tech companies.
According to a report by business resource Crunchbase, Twitter has acquired 54 brands in its short time of being a media giant and that number is sure to grow. Two of its most notable acquisitions include live video streaming app Periscope and the now defunct short-form video app Vine (lifecycle: 2013 to 2017).
Twitter and political bias
Censorship of conservative voices on popular social media and tech platforms have been a hot topic of discussion for years, but it has seemingly intensified after the 2016 presidential election. Twitter is no exception from this trend. Even President Donald Trump has criticized the speech restrictions on the social media platform despite it being his favored one for public service announcements. He has outright blamed Twitter’s censorship for his loss of followers.
In April 2019, Trump met Twitter’s CEO Dorsey to discuss the issue in a formal meeting. Trump made sure to share the outcome of the discussion on Twitter, of course.
"Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue!" Trump tweeted to his followers.
Four months later after the meeting with Dorsey, the White House began drafting an executive order that targets Twitter and other social media giants for anti-conservative bias.
“If the internet is going to be presented as this egalitarian platform and most of Twitter is liberal cesspools of venom, then at least the president wants some fairness in the system,” a White House official told Politico about the order.
Twitter and privacy concerns
In Sept. 29, Twitter confirmed with FOX Business that it participated in a security talk that aims to keep users’ information and its platform safe. This is a top priority with the 2020 election coming up.
“Every year is an election year on Twitter and our mission to serve the public conversation is never more critical than during these moments,” the spokesperson told FOX Business in an emailed statement.
“We always welcome the opportunity to spend time with our peer companies and the government agencies tasked with protecting the integrity of the 2020 election. This is a joint effort in response to a shared threat, and we are committed to doing our part,” the Twitter spokesperson added.