Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Blame Game

Kurt Wanger and Dawn Chmielewski, Recode:

Twitter added a total of four million new users last quarter, a number that seems surprisingly low.

During the company’s earnings call, CFO Anthony Noto provided an excuse for its lack of growth: …

Oh, oh: I think I know this one. Is it because Twitter rarely adds new features that people actually want unless a third-party developer thinks of them first, and because Twitter is slowly squeezing third-party developers, they haven’t thought of anything truly fresh that people will really use, thereby reducing the draw for new users?

… An “unforeseen bug” in Twitter’s integration with iOS 8, Apple’s mobile software update that launched in September. This “bug” caused Twitter to lose four million users, he added, or half of the company’s actual growth.

Did not guess that. Twitter integration in iOS 8 is virtually unchanged. What’s the story?

Well, one million of those users were people who downloaded iOS 8 and either never reopened Twitter, or forgot their password and couldn’t log back in.

That’s not exactly an iOS 8 bug, now, is it?

The other three million were lost due to Safari’s Reader section, which no longer pings Twitter automatically for content like it did in iOS 7. Users who were counted as active because of this automatic pinging on iOS 7 were then lost when they updated to iOS 8.

Oh, so Twitter lost some of the ways in which they were padding their active user stats. Got it.

Unsurprisingly, Twitter is now backpedalling.