Yesterday saw Twitter CEO and founder Jack Dorsey quitting his role and the social media company’s stock price surged by 12.5% as a result. Prior to the announcement, Twitter’s stock price had been $47.07, but the news that Dorsey was stepping down as CEO caused the price to spike to $53.01.
However, the market followed up this spike with a more skeptical outlook, and by the end of trading the Twitter stock price had sunk by 2.7%. This followed a press release from Dorsey that stated that, ‘I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders.’
While Twitter is undoubtedly one of the social media giants, it has struggled in recent years and many have questioned Dorsey’s ability to manage the situation. Twitter has visibly struggled to compete with rivals like Instagram and TikTok that have found greater success in attracting younger users.
There has also been criticism that Twitter hadn’t done enough to introduce new features to keep its 211 million daily user base. While there have been some launches of features like Spaces that let users host and listen into conversations, this hasn’t done enough to reverse the stalling Twitter stock price of the past year.
This has been combined with frequent accusations that Twitter has not done enough to curb hate speech, despite the social media company taking the extraordinary step of banning Donald Trump following the Capitol Attack in January 2021.
Dorsey was also frequently criticised for the fact that he split his time between being the CEO of Twitter, as well as being the CEO of his Square payment processing firm. Plus with some outlandish behavior such as his advocacy of Bitcoin and his planned move to Africa before the pandemic struck, there will be plenty of investors who will be glad to see the back of Dorsey.
There will be a familiar face running Twitter as Parag Agrawal will be stepping into the CEO role and joining the board of directors. He had been acting as the social media company’s chief technology officer for the previous four years.
Much has been made of the fact that Agrawal improved the machine-learning abilities of the social media brand. The 37-year old might not be massively famous beyond the confines of Silicon Valley, but many recognize the fact that Agrawal was pivotal in boosting Twitter’s user base after a period of relatively stagnancy.
The overall impression is that Agrawal has been seen as being a safe pick and one made to appease investors. As such, there is expected to be a ‘business as usual’ approach as the company aims to double its annual revenues by 2023.
But how Agrawal tackles some of the more thorny issues regarding misinformation and hate speech remains to be seen. All of which will make for a hugely important few months in the second chapter of this social media giant.