On Thursday, Twitter reported a loss of $125 million, or 20 cents per share, on revenue of $479 million. That's up from $243 million a year ago. But the New York Times called the company's top-line growth "a faint glimmer of good news," focusing instead on the platform's addition of an anemic 4 million users in the quarter, representing an increase of barely over 1 percent.
Investors did not agree with the Times. They sent shares up over 16 percent today.
But whatever you think of the company's financial prospects, none other than its own CEO thinks it can do much better on a topic that's garnered a lot of press lately: Twitter trolls chasing users away.
Two days ago, The Verge obtained an internal memo from CEO Dick Costolo lamenting the company's inability to deal effectively with those Twitterers who harass other users on the site. In response to an employee's question on an online forum about cyberbullying, Costolo responded:
We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years. It's no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.
I'm frankly ashamed of how poorly we've dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It's absurd. There's no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It's nobody else's fault but mine, and it's embarrassing.
We're going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.
Everybody on the leadership team knows this is vital.
In a followup message, Costolo wrote:
We HAVE to be able to tell each other the truth, and the truth that everybody in the world knows is that we have not effectively dealt with this problem even remotely to the degree we should have by now, and that's on me and nobody else. So now we're going to fix it, and I'm going to take full responsibility for making sure that the people working night and day on this have the resources they need to address the issue, that there are clear lines of responsibility and accountability, and that we don't equivocate in our decisions and choices.
Carolyn Petit agrees with Costolo that Twitter sucks at dealing with abuse. Petit is the former editor of the site GameSpot. (She has also written for KQED Arts.) In September 2013 she wrote a review of Grand Theft Auto 5 that talked about the virtues of the game but also its "unnecessary strain of misogynistic nastiness." In a sort of prelude to the GamerGate controversy, the review drew more than 22,000 comments, including many that attacked Petit for her opinions. The negative comments also bled over to her Twitter feed, where, she says, she fielded death threats among the other attacks.