How many people really use Twitter?
On Thursday, Twitter revealed—for the first time ever—how many daily active users it has. In a presentation for investors, Twitter defined that metric, which it calls monetizable daily active users, as “Twitter users who logged in or were otherwise authenticated and accessed Twitter on any given day through twitter.com or Twitter applications that are able to show ads.” How does Twitter fare relative to other social platforms? And are these kinds of comparisons fair? Can metrics tell an accurate story at all?
- “Twitter said that it has 126 million daily active users, a figure that is dwarfed by Facebook’s 1.2 billion daily users and that falls short of Snapchat’s daily users by 60 million.” - Hamza Shaban, The Washington Post
- “Twitter will tell you that it’s not fair to compare directly to Snapchat. That’s because Twitter says it is only counting users who could be exposed to ads—what it’s referring to as its ‘monetizable’ audience. Snapchat, Twitter would argue, counts users who open the app, send a message, and leave without ever getting to the part of the app where Snapchat serves ads. … It’s not a super-compelling argument, but if you want to find a defense for Twitter, at least its audience is still growing. Snapchat’s user base didn’t grow at all in 2018.” - Kurt Wagner, Recode
- “In a 16-month study of 1.5 billion tweets, Zubair Shafiq, a computer science professor at the University of Iowa, and his graduate student Shehroze Farooqi, identified more than 167,000 apps using Twitter's API to automate bot accounts that spread tens of millions of tweets pushing spam, links to malware, and astroturfing campaigns.” - Andy Greenberg, WIRED