Is Twitter’s Crackdown Backfiring?


Jul. 29 2019, Updated 7:48 a.m. ET

Saudi users join Twitter rival Parler

Twitter (TWTR) has shut down or suspended millions of accounts in an attempt to tackle misinformation and harassment problems on its platform. A report from the Washington Post last year said that Twitter was shutting down more than 1.0 million accounts every day in an effort to accomplish what the management calls “fostering healthy conversations” on the platform.

However, Twitter’s crackdown on bad accounts has kicked up a political storm with potentially serious consequences for its growth ambitions. Some users have accused Twitter of using the crackdown to salience views its leadership doesn’t agree with. As a result, thousands of Twitter users in Saudi Arabia joined Parler due to what they called a “censorship” by Twitter, according to a report from Reuters.

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Key market for Twitter

Twitter is estimated to have 11.7 million users in Saudi Arabia. The country is Twitter’s largest market in the Middle East, according to estimates by Crowd Analyzer. Saudi Arabia is also a key market for Snapchat. A report from CNBC last year said that Snapchat parent Snap (SNAP) was discussing opening an office in Saudi Arabia to get closer to advertisers.

Twitter held a 5.4% share of the social media market in Saudi Arabia in May. Twitter was ranked third, according to data from StatCounter. Facebook (FB) led with an 83.5% share, while Google’s (GOOGL) YouTube was second with a 10.3% share. Pinterest (PINS) was ranked fourth with a 0.53% share, followed by Instagram with a 0.2% share and Microsoft’s (MSFT) LinkedIn with a 0.1% share.


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