Site re-classifies itself
Twitter ‘no longer a social network’
It will cease being listed among other social media and social networking sites such as Facebook. Instead it will join the list of other news organisations, competing against news websites and broadcasters.
The company has not issued a public statement about why it made the change, but it comes just days after it posted stagnant trading and subscriber figures.
Twitter has about 300 million monthly active users, and the trend points to a slowing of growth. It has also grown far more slowly than other social networks. It had 240 million users two years ago, whil Facebook has seen its users grow over the same period from 300 million to more than 1.5 billion.
In fact, the way in which Twitter is used differs to a degree from other networks. More than half of Twitter users say they look to it for breaking news.
Twitter has responded by re-classifying its iOS app in the news category on the App Store.
It has certainly found itself at the centre of key breaking news events, such as the Paris attacks and the Arab Spring where citizens have found themselves under duress or have seen it as a useful means of combating censorship.
The recent release of Moments – an aggregation of tweets on one topic – is another acknowledgement by Twitter of its real value to users.
Journalists have adopted Twitter as an unofficial news wire and most organisations monitor it for breaking news and instant opinion by customers. Barney Wyld, an executive at Network Rail, described it as an early warning system, providing the first indication of an incident or issue that needed to be resolved.
Re-positioning it as a News App is likely to boost Twitter’s position in the App store’s rankings. It already occupies top spot in the news category, ahead of Reddit and CNN Politics, while it was previously tenth in social media, behind Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, Pinterest, and others.
Twitter has tried to stop its users switching to Facebook or other social media apps by, for instance, increasing the appeal of its photo-sharing and live-streaming capabilities.
Moving to the News category may also be part of a plan to improve its trading situation. The company has never turned a profit and has given no indication as to when it might. Revenue also came in below analysts expectations at $595m for the first quarter of the year.
However, it recently won the deal to stream National Football League (NFL) games in the US, outbidding Verizon and Yahoo, thereby positioning itself firmly in the News wire category.