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Twitter Blames Apple For Drop In Users



Oh Twitter you popular thing you.
On Thursday Twitter released its fourth quarter earnings report. The company managed to top revenue estimates made by Wall Street, but unfortunately, came up short in terms of user growth.
Twitter added just four million users during the quarter or an increase of 1.4% from the previous quarter. This might sound like a lot, but it’s actually Twitter’s lowest growth in a quarter ever.

On a year-over-year basis, Twitter's user base grew by 20% this quarter, compared to 30% year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Does this mean that the tweeting behemoth is finally slowing down in its tracks? I suppose it’s only natural for Twitter to eventually plateau out at some point, there are only so many people out there who can tweet.

But not according to Twitter, they've blamed their slow user growth on Apple’s iPhones.
Twitter have put the blame on changes in Apple’s new iOS8 software.
Here’s what CFO Anthony Noto and CEO Dick Costolo had to say in regards to how they managed to swing the blame off of Twitter.

Anthony Noto (CFO): Let me just give you some specific numbers as it relates to iOS. So we said we lost four million monthly active users due to the iOS 8 integration. One million of those monthly active users were Twitter owned and operated monthly active users.
And three million were on Safari, what we call auto-pulling MAUs, and we lost those. We don't expect to get the three million auto-pulling MAUs in Safari back, and that's a non-Twitter owned and operated auto-pulling MAU. The one million, that number was actually higher at a different point in the quarter and we were able to bring it back to just one.

Dick Costolo (CEO): Let me add a little bit more color there that may be helpful. We obviously have a great relationship with Apple …
On the second part of what Anthony talked about there, there was an unforeseen bug in the release of iOS 8 as it relates to the specific Twitter integration into iOS. That's why it was particular to us.
Once we understood the issue, we moved as quickly as we could on multiple fronts to minimize its impact. But it wasn't a one-size-fits-all fix, which is why you've seen some of the complexity that we've seen here in bringing those users back. The problem was complex and affected different users differently.

So while Costolo is quick to take blame for issues of abuse and trolling on the network, he’s very quick to divert blame in terms of a decline in monthly active users.'


Bit confused after all that? Yeah, don’t worry. So was I. After a bit of digging (and some help from Mashable) it seems as though the issue lies with Safari. Apple’s choice web browser.

In iOS 7, Apple added a new ‘shared links’ tab to its bookmarks in Safari.
Open up your iPhone (if you've got one and take a look)

‘If you have a Twitter account connected to your iPhone, a tab in the bookmarks button called ‘shared links’ will show you a list of links included in tweets by people you follow.
In iOS 7, Apple frequently asked your Twitter account to check for new links in Safari, whether you accessed the feature or not. As a result of that "auto-polling," as Twitter calls it, those users were counted as MAUs.
In iOS 8, Safari no longer automatically asks Twitter for new links. Instead, it only looks for new links when the feature is actually invoked by the user. That meant million fewer MAUs are now counted for Twitter.’ – Christina Warren, Mashable.

So there you have it. Twitter’s drop in growth isn't actually a real drop. It’s just a drop in an automated request from Safari which counted the linked phone as an active user. Even if they never logged in.
The new figures in growth they have are actually a more realistic figure.

No need to be scared though Twitter, it was always going to level out.

You’re still huge. Go and have a sit down and a cup of tea. Then get back to work on sorting out all the abuse.

Tom Welby

Tom has a degree in Creative and Professional Writing and now he currently manages, edits and writes for this blog. His other interests include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

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Twitter Blames Apple For Drop In Users Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, February 06, 2015 Rating: 5
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