Twitter’s sale may have been thwarted by the trolls

Hatred and abuse on Twitter have driven away its users — and, it appears, the companies that were interested in buying it.

Disney reportedly decided not to make a bid for the social media company partly because of its image as, well, not the happiest place on Earth. The Bloomberg report also said the producer of family-friendly entertainment had hired investment bankers to study a bid; listened to a presentation by Twitter’s executives; and took calls from Disney investors unhappy with the prospect of a Twitter acquisition. also reportedly backed away from a bid also partly because of how Twitter has handled its abuse problem. Late last week, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said buying the company wasn’t the “right fit,” causing Twitter shares to sink after investors realized Twitter doesn’t seem to have any other would-be buyers. (Google and Apple, said to be potential suitors as well, did not make a bid, either.)

There are other reasons Twitter might not be the right fit for certain companies, including the fact that it’s losing money and isn’t seeing the growth rate of other social media companies. Rightly or wrongly, it is almost always judged against Facebook.

But Twitter is famous for its long-running abuse problem. Co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey struggles with it, as did former CEO Dick Costolo. Former employees have called it a “fundamental feature” of the platform, which prides itself on being a champion of free speech. In addition, Twitter doesn’t require users to use their real names.

The result: It can get pretty nasty on the Twittersphere, and it has caused some high-profile exits from the service. For example, a couple of years ago, the late actor Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda, was harassed on Twitter (and Instagram) after the suicide of her father and logged off for a while. (She has since returned to Twitter.) Actress and comedienne Leslie Jones, who is African-American, briefly fled Twitter earlier this year after being targeted by racist and sexist trolls.

What is Twitter doing to try to fix the problem? It recently rolled out “quality filters” that only allow certain tweets to show up on users’ feeds, plus the ability to limit the notifications users see.

But is that enough? CNBC’s Jim Cramer, who said Salesforce was turned off by the abuse, said, “Twitter says listen, we have a filter. I mean the filter filters out a very small amount of the haters, and I know that the haters reduce the value of the company.”


Photo: Twitter icons on computer screens. (AFP/Getty Images)


Tags: , , , , , ,


Share this Post

  • MaxHoo

    I see Disney got steered away because they don’t know what to do with “hate” speeches etc on Twitter?

    With AI based Machine Learning algorithms “trolls” and other #$%$ can be filtered out.
    IBM has this And so does Microsoft
    Twitter has a unique “multi-way massive data structure” on a “live” basis. Google failed to take advantage because Google doesn’t succeed in “social networking” segment…as they are confused between Apple and Facebook as their true competition!!!

    Twitter is about to broaden its appeal in a massive way as its live streaming strategy takes hold.
    It’s “multi-way, real-time tweet-based large data as a real follower-following-followed data structure “” is a gold mine to be discovered
    But instead of Google as a partner they really need IBM (or Microsoft) to crack “business intelligence” market make productivity gains in “continuous improvements in operations involving everyone in a typical business”.
    IBM and Microsoft both can do it. Not Google or Facebook.
    They need a social networking play, like Twitter, relevant to business intelligence domain. Just like they are shining in mobile-cloud IT outsourcing segment!!
    Very impressive that the large company like IBM can turn around.
    IBM seems to need another couple of quarters
    IBM’s strategic businesses grew at 15%.
    Watson being applied across industries: Healthcare, IoT, Finance.
    Their CFO says it needs data from Twitter.
    Can they afford Twitter though
    Any thoughts?
    IBM Watson and analytical businesses is key to IBM-Twitter marriage.
    While it is easy to see use of “Tweets Database” by anyone with minimal imaginative talent, please don’t misunderstand. Twitter is fundamentally different than Facebook database or Google database in its basic, characteristic (two-way) social networking potential. Inherently, it shows the relationships between users and their modes of uses are somewhat like FakeBook but can go well beyond that in a “Business intelligence” sense. It is NOT easy to comprehend but see my comments below.
    Salesforce, Google or Dosney have no such requirement or advantage but then Wall Street likes to overestimate or underestimate and ignore technology’s fundamental promise and oversimplify in laymen’s trader’s terms. 🙁
    IBM with Sorry. Microsoft AI-AR-tweets partnering/combination will be very disruptive. And it will fit nicely into Satya’s Mobile-Cloud strategy.
    Microsoft’s deeper pockets are no match for IBM or others… No way! But partnership could work!!
    Although the “Business Intelligence” focus on enterprise market segment can expand IBM/Twitter into revenue stream with much higher margins without necessarily pushing for ad revenues.
    But can IBM acquire Twitter?
    Well, PNN or Professional People’s News Network needs AI to make it acceptable. Twitter is mostly used by professional individuals and organizations!!
    Higher overall potential than LinkedIn because it is far more relevant to current business minute-by-minute.
    Not LinkedIn. It’s content becomes stale and useless in its timeliness. Do you use LinkedIn for messaging and email which are time critical? NO WAY! How about Twitter? YOU NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE!
    That’s why IBM will buy. The same reason why Microsoft would like to have it.
    It is very useful following tweets as your major business meetings, preparations, or realtime events like interviews. debates or major events like Sandy and Mathew hurricanes or storm happen (or a sports event or a terrorist event) It is remarkable the ease with which you can follow tweets of your favorite person or news reporter or an organization like CN. Loomberg or PBS news hour!!!!
    I am betting on IBM (or Microsoft) to leverage its AI investments and LinkedIn to gain most by acquiring Twitter.
    Salesforce lost again. Its playing the same game as it did before LinkedIn was bought out.
    IBM CEO andMicrosoft’s Satya are clever business strategist and a texhnologist.. They control worlds most powerful service and software platforms for the Enterprise Markets. Tweets within an enterprise to communicate and to support timely decision making can be huge … I am waiting for this game to unfold. If you are committed to the AR-VR via gaming XbOX investments, it can greatly benefit from “live video content” Twitter provides. You must I mgine “tweets” coming out of ChatBots as Microsoft’s AI engine integrates them into the games on its gaming platform …and allow Live Video Meeting participants to contribute their briefings or presentations more for customers in the enterprise market.
    It’s a new use of AI-AR-VR technology with Twitter content integrated!!!
    IBM can benefit greatly with new Human-Cognite Watson?

  • Pooja

    Mr MaxHoo Too Big Comment 😀

  • Pooja

    Mr MaxHoo Too Big Comment 😀