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What’s Pushing Celebrities off Twitter?

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Sheeran to maintain an inactive Twitter account

Twitter (TWTR) continues to lose celebrity users, a problem that’s cutting into its popularity and prosperity. At the start of July, singer Ed Sheeran announced in an interview with The Sun that he was leaving the platform because of people saying mean things about him and his career.

Though Sheeran won’t delete his Twitter account, which has more than 19 million followers, he will cease posting on the platform directly. Instead, feeds on his Twitter account will be automatically updated through his Instagram account.

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Celebrities show dissatisfaction with Twitter

In making the move to leave Twitter, Sheeran joined a growing list of celebrities leaving the site. In May this year, Kanye West abruptly deleted both his Twitter and Instagram accounts. Other celebrities, such as Louis C.K., Lindsay Lohan, and Emma Stone, have also abandoned the site.

Trolling and other forms of online harassment are the reasons celebrities are ditching Twitter. The problem is compromising Twitter’s ability to grow its user base. Save for the surprise growth in 1Q17, as the chart above shows, Twitter’s subscriber base has nearly stagnated in recent quarters.

Pressure on Dorsey to fix the trolling problem

Trolling activities that cause people to leave or become less active on Twitter are bad for the company’s growth. Sheeran’s highly publicized exit could pressure on Twitter’s management, led by CEO Jack Dorsey, to do more to fix the trolling problem.

Given where it is and how far it needs to go to catch up to competition, Twitter can’t spare any efforts to make its platform safer. The company is in cutthroat competition with Facebook (FB), Snap (SNAP), Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google, and Yelp (YELP) for the attention of Internet users and advertisers.

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