×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Downplays Acquisition Chatter, Touting Platform’s ‘Independence’

Is Twitter for sale? CEO Jack Dorsey seemed to wave off the idea that the company is looking for a buyer, saying at an investment conference that he sees value in Twitter remaining independent.

“I’ve always felt there’s a lot of strength to our independence,” Dorsey said, speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference 2018 in San Francisco. The exec had been asked if he saw any advantages to being part of a larger company. Twitter is not “constrained” by any one platform, he said, and that “we can work through any medium.”

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Twitter would not be open to an M&A overture of the right one came along.

Wall Street analysts have regularly speculated that Twitter could be a takeover candidate by a larger tech or media company, not least because of the huge trove of data it aggregates. In 2016, Disney, Google and Salesforce.com had been interested in acquiring Twitter but no deal came to pass.

Twitter last week reported the first profitable quarter in its nearly 12-year history thanks to cost-cutting measures, driving the company’s stock to two-year highs. However, Twitter’s total monthly active users during the fourth quarter of 2017 stayed flat with the previous quarter, at an average of about 330 million, with the company citing a purge of fake and malicious accounts and a change Apple made to the Safari browser’s third-party app integration.

The No. 1 focus for the company right now is understanding the “overall cohesive, comprehensive health of the platform,” Dorsey said.

That includes Twitter’s efforts to improve safety and reduce the spread of misinformation, “but it’s much broader than that,” Dorsey added. He said the company’s efforts to improve “information quality” extend to providing tools to help users ascertain a source’s credibility.

“Twitter is a very good mirror for what’s going on in the world,” Dorsey said. “At our worst it makes people be a lot more reflexive, and at our best it encourages people to be a lot more reflective.”

Regarding Twitter’s text-centric nature, he commented, “We kind of got stuck in the age of typing. Sometimes, based on the context you’re in, you want to watch a video or see an image.”

Dorsey pointed to Twitter’s live-video strategy as a start, but admitted that right now Twitter doesn’t have any organizing mechanism for finding or following live events. “That’s what we’re working on,” he said.

Twitter needs a better way to help users find video that’s relevant to their interests, Dorsey said. But that won’t include a separate tab or section. “We’ve had a lot of requests to create a video tab… I think that’s a thing of the past.” Facebook last summer launched Watch, a new video destination in its apps to serve as a home for longer-form, episodic content.

Asked about his dual role as CEO of both Twitter and online-payments firm Square, Dorsey responded that “we’ve been able to overcome a lot of those challenges.” He said he’s now been able to achieve a “steady state” in which he is “less reactive” in managing each company.

Twitter COO Anthony Noto departed the company last month to join online-lending startup SoFi as CEO. Dorsey told analysts on the earnings call last week that Twitter wasn’t seeking to hire an exec to fill Noto’s role.

More Digital

  • How Meta Struggled to Make AR

    The Story Behind Meta, the AR Startup That Just Had Its Assets Sold to a Mystery Buyer

    “It’s a pretty dramatic moment in my life.” To say that Meron Gribetz, co-founder of the augmented reality headset startup Meta, has had a busy couple of months is an understatement. Meta made headlines in September when it furloughed most of its workforce after an investment round from China failed to go through. Since then, [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Farewell to Concubines: China Tightens Restrictions on Short-Form Video Sector

    Bad news for some of China’s 600 million users of short-form video platforms: No more content depicting foot fetishes, spoofs of the national anthem or sympathy for extramarital affairs, according to new regulations. Worse news for the companies that serve such consumers: They’re now expected to step up their censorship efforts and assume responsibility for [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized by the [...]

  • Netflix Claims 'Fortnite' Is a Bigger

    Netflix Claims 'Fortnite' Is a Bigger Competitor Than HBO

    It may be mostly gamesmanship, but Netflix says it’s not really focused on rival streaming-video services from Amazon, Hulu, Disney, WarnerMedia or other big players as much as improving its own service to win share of consumers’ attention. “We compete with (and lose to) ‘Fortnite’ more than HBO,” Netflix told investors in its quarterly letter [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Turns in Record Q4 Subscriber Gain, Price Increase Weighs on U.S. Forecast

    Netflix is beating Wall Street expectations for international subscriber growth — but its recently announced price increase in the U.S. may have put a damper on its momentum in the States. For the fourth quarter of 2018, Netflix reported 1.53 million paid net adds in the U.S. and 7.31 million internationally, to end the year [...]

  • Bird Box

    'Bird Box' Has Been Watched by 80 Million Subscribers, Netflix Says

    Netflix used its Q4 2018 earnings report Thursday to give us a rare update on some of its audience numbers: The company estimates that its horror-thriller “Bird Box” will be viewed by over 80 million member households in the first four weeks following its release. “We are seeing high repeat viewing,” company executives wrote in [...]

  • Crackle Latin America

    Sony Shuts Down Crackle Latin America Business

    Sony Pictures Television is folding the Crackle Latin America subscription VOD service, which has 400,000 subscribers across 17 countries, after concluding the business isn’t economically viable. Crackle Latin America first launched in April 2012 as an ad-supported streaming service — like the U.S. version of Crackle — before switching in 2016 to a subscription video-on-demand [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content