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Meet the Twitter account that helped shave over $5 billion off Twitter's market cap

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Selerity monitors websites for earnings releases ahead of their publication

Twitter was scheduled to release its quarterly earnings after the New York Stock Exchange closed this evening, but things took a different turn when the Twitter account of a financial services company got to them first, publishing key details nearly an hour early. The account, Selerity, broke news that Twitter missed its revenue expectations and that its users grew. Between the leak and the bad numbers, the incident quickly drove Twitter's stock down around 18 percent.

"I am assuming that Twitter mistakenly posted the earnings."

Was the leak beneficial for Selerity's business? "I think it helps everybody that the data became available, went out over our Twitter feed, and that people were able to see it," Brendan Gilmartin, a Selerity sales executive, tells The Verge. Twitter's investor relations team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This is not the first time that Selerity has broken earnings numbers. Forbes reports that it did this same thing with Microsoft in 2011, finding its earnings early by scraping the company's website. Selerity tells The Verge that it has an automated system to search out earnings releases on investor websites as their publication approaches. However, it said that it is "monitoring" these websites for publicly available information, not scraping for hidden data.

"Anytime a company's earnings are due for release, we check the website periodically to see if the earnings are available," Gilmartin says. "In this instance, I am assuming that Twitter mistakenly posted the earnings to the website early. But they did make the earnings available on the website."

Nonetheless, Twitter is still calling the incident a "leak." It says that it halted trading upon discovery of the leak and is now investigating the source. "We do plan on speaking with Twitter, obviously," Gilmartin says.