Elon Musk has controversial ideas for Twitter around free speech and content moderation, and it's apparently scaring advertisers.
Behind the scenes, Twitter has reportedly been trying to convince advertisers that the platform is still a good place to do business, according to the Financial Times. Some advertisers are worried that Musk's thoughts around content moderation would hurt them and make the platform less brand-friendly. Car companies in particular are concerned that their advertising plans on Twitter would get back to Tesla if Musk took over. Fair!
The issue wouldn't matter as much to Musk, who doesn't care for advertising anyway. Tesla notably does not lean on any ads whatsoever. It's a big part of Twitter's business, though. The company's ad revenue increased 23% to $1.11 billion this quarter.
Twitter is also dealing with the fallout of its Q1 earnings report, in which the company revealed it over-counted the number of daily users using its platform for three consecutive years. It turns out Twitter had overstated daily users by up to 1.9 million each quarter after accidentally counting several accounts as active even though they were run by one user. The problem is tied to a feature that allows users to more easily switch between separate accounts.
In any case, the number of daily active users — 229 million — rose nearly 16% this quarter compared to the same time last year. The company didn't hold a corresponding call after reporting earnings, which could be its last if Musk ends up buying the company and taking Twitter private like he said he would.
“Given the pending acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk, we will not be providing any forward looking guidance, and are withdrawing all previously provided goals and outlook,” the company said in a statement. The deal is set to close later this year pending regulatory and shareholder approvals.