Twitter vows safer tweeting, faster updates

Twitter is vowing to be more responsive and says it will soon add new muting and blocking controls to address harassment issues.

The comments came in tweets posted by Ed Ho, the company’s vice president of engineering.

“We heard you, we didn’t move fast enough last year,” Ho tweeted Monday. “Now we’re thinking about progress in days and hours not weeks and months.”

He also said the company would launch new products and services and roll them out more quickly.

Ho’s promises came amid ongoing pressure from Wall Street for the struggling social network to extract more revenue from its services and chart a path to profitability.

Over the 12 months that ended in September, Twitter lost $380.1 million on revenue of $2.52 billion.

Still, during a conference call with analysts in October to discuss the company’s third-quarter financial results, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stated that he believed an “inflection point” had been reached during the April-through-June second quarter, perhaps signaling a turnaround.

“Product changes are driving an acceleration in year-over-year growth for daily active usage, tweet impressions and time spent for the second consecutive quarter,” Dorsey told the analysts. “We’re shipping rapidly and see a significant opportunity to increase growth as we continue to refine the core service.”

San Francisco-based Twitter also told analysts during the call that safety was on the company’s mind.

“We’re taking important steps to make Twitter safer for everyone, with updates to share in the coming weeks,” Dorsey said during the call.

Dorsey retweeted Ho’s tweets Monday.

“This week, we’ll tackle long overdue fixes to mute/block and stopping repeat offenders from creating new accounts,” Ho said. “Making Twitter a safer place is our primary focus and we are now moving with more urgency than ever.”

Twitter has had some high-profile harassment controversies. Recently, it has banned white supremacists and well-known trolls such as Martin Shkreli, a.k.a. “pharma bro.”

Wall Street’s outlook about Twitter may be starting to thaw. So far in 2017, the social network’s shares are up about 5 percent. The company’s stock jumped more than 1 percent on Tuesday.

During all of 2016, Twitter’s shares plummeted slightly more than 30 percent. And despite the upswing over the first month of 2017, the company’s stock remains mired about 33 percent below its initial public offering price of $26 a share. The IPO was issued in November 2013.

“We’ll be rolling out a number of product changes in the days ahead. Some changes will be visible and some will be less so,” Ho tweeted. “As we we roll out these changes, and other features that are new, we’ll keep you updated. We want your feedback and we are listening.”


Photo: Twitter logo. (Laura Oda/Bay Area News Group)


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