Twitter has admitted that, in the past, the platform was skewed to show more ads to users with fewer followers, as first reported by CNBC. The policy was intended to give popular users a better experience, incentivizing them to stay on the platform.
“Historically, users with high follower counts have seen fewer ads,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge. “Recently, we’ve shifted our approach to showing ads to everyone who uses Twitter and as a result, some will notice an increase in the number of ads they’re seeing.”
Some Twitter users had already noticed the shift. For weeks, popular users have been complaining about seeing more ads on the platform. That was likely the result of the changed policy, which previously suppressed the number of ads shown to those high-follower accounts. Now, the company has leveled the playing field. As a result, popular accounts are seeing more ads, finally experiencing what it’s like to be a plebe on the platform.
“Historically, users with high follower counts have seen fewer ads.”
The revelation comes on the heels of a low earnings announcement that the company is blaming on issues with its advertising products, including some alarming data management practices. Twitter normally asks users’ permission to share information on their device type, Wi-Fi connection, and operating system. But the setting wasn’t working properly, and the information ended up going to advertisers when it shouldn’t have.
Now, that problem is fixed, which is good for humanity but bad for the company’s bottom line since advertisers want to target valuable users who are more likely to spend money on their products. Twitter is still working on a more long-term fix and says the problems could bleed into next quarter.
“Although we are working on remediation, there isn’t remediation yet in place, so the effects of that will continue into Q4,” the company’s chief financial officer Ned Segal told CNBC. “As you can imagine, the remediation would be sharing aggregated data as opposed to personalized data when people have asked us not to share data.”