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Twitter blames Elon Musk for making it lose money

Twitter blames Elon Musk for making it lose money


Musk is creating ‘uncertainty’ for advertisers

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Twitter would have earned more money over the past few months if Elon Musk hadn’t been in the picture. At least, that’s what the company says in its Q2 earnings release this morning, citing Musk as a factor in its revenue results, which fell year over year to $1.18 billion from $1.19 billion.

That’s not the only reason Twitter is experiencing revenue problems. The company also cites ad industry problems — see Snap’s poor performance yesterday — and the general economic environment. But “uncertainty related to the pending acquisition of Twitter by an affiliate of Elon Musk” is the most Twitter-specific problem on the list.

Ad sales are reportedly in “disarray”

Musk entered into an agreement to buy Twitter in April, and he’s been trying to back out of it since just weeks afterward. Finally, Musk filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in an attempt to formally end the deal earlier this month, and the two parties are now headed to court in October. Twitter hopes to make Musk follow through with the acquisition, which would come at a premium over the company’s current share price.

For the time being, though, the chaotic acquisition seems to be making it more difficult for Twitter to sell ads. Bloomberg previously reported that Twitter was trying its best to calm advertisers’ concerns about how Musk might change the platform, while Ad Age reported more recently that the drama has sent the company’s ad sales into “disarray.”

That all said, Twitter’s ad sales were still up 2 percent year over year, even if overall revenue was down. But the company needs to grow ad sales revenue a lot faster. Twitter reported a net loss of $270 million, down from a profit of $66 million during the same quarter last year. The revenue figure is a lot worse when looking at the growth trajectory. This time last year, Twitter’s revenue grew by 74 percent year over year. Now it’s shrinking.

One thing Twitter won’t give Musk credit for? Its user growth. The service reported reaching more than 237 million daily users, up from 229 million last quarter. That, of course, was due to “ongoing product improvements.”