Twitter Ad Revenue Plummets 59% Amid Hate Speech Concerns


Twitter reportedly continues to shed advertisers amid a rise in hate speech on the platform.

In the five weeks from April 1 to the first week of May, ad revenue was $88 million, a 59% decrease from the same period a year earlier, The New York Times reported Monday (June 5), citing an internal presentation.

That same presentation, the report said, shows that Twitter has routinely missed its weekly U.S. sales projections, in some cases by up to 30%. And that situation is unlikely to turn around anytime in the near future, the report said, according to documents and interviews with Twitter employees past and present.

Those employees say the ad sales staff worries that businesses might be scared off by an increase in hate speech and pornography on Twitter, as well as a rise in ads for online gambling and marijuana companies.

One internal document says that Twitter’s American ad revenue — which has accounted for 90% of the company’s income — for this month will be down at least 56% each week compared to June of 2022.

PYMNTS contacted Twitter for comment and received — as per usual — the company’s “poop emoji” non-reply.

In an interview with the BBC in April, Twitter owner Elon Musk had said the company was “roughly breaking even,” and that most of its advertisers had returned.

The news follows reports from last week showing that Twitter was now worth just a third of the $44 billion Musk had paid for it.

In April, Musk had placed Twitter’s value at $20 billion, but also said he sees the company ballooning to a $250 billion payments company that could eventually be “the biggest financial institution in the world,” a part of a super app called X that Musk wants to construct.

As noted here soon after that pronouncement, Twitter has good reasons for wanting to diversify revenue streams, as it wants to become less dependent on advertising income. The company has also tried to recoup its lost ad revenue through subscription sales, although its Twitter Blue program has so far drawn just a sliver of its user base.

And as noted here in April, paying for a blue checkmark on Twitter could be something of a double-edged sword.

“For some companies, the blue checkmark acts as a seal of approval, assuring potential customers that they are dealing with a legitimate business,” PYMNTS wrote. “In this sense, paying for verification may benefit smaller businesses or startups seeking recognition and credibility in a highly competitive market.”

At the same time, the report added, larger brands might not reap the same advantages, as they could have already established credibility and brand recognition.

The drop in ad revenue will be one of the hurdles facing new Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino — whom the Times says is scheduled to take over Monday — a former ad executive for NBCUniversal named to the chief executive position last month.