2018: Year in Review – Twitter

This is the third installment in our ongoing series: 2018: Year In Review, where we cover the major changes in a social network or ad platform, and where we think they’re headed in the coming year.

Twitter has experienced one rollercoaster of a year— updating its platform with major new features and revamping its privacy policy, all with the intent of reframing the brand as a safer and more inclusive social space. In this post, we’ll cover the changes Twitter implemented, and what the social network has planned for the coming year.

How many users does Twitter have in 2018?

Based on these figures from Statista, Twitter currently has 335 million monthly active users on their service (as of 2018).

What changes has Twitter implemented this year?

More Transparent Policies

Facebook isn’t the only one impacted by Cambridge Analytica (the scandal that revealed a data analytics firm exploiting the data of millions of Facebook accounts for political gain), Twitter also experienced major backlash. In response, the company revisited its policies, granting more control to users over their data and providing greater transparency.

Tighter accessibility

Twitter is also changing how users are able to access its service. They recently removed Twitter for Apple Watch and Mac, while restricting features on third-party apps like Tweetdeck and Twitterrific (removing real-time updating and delaying notifications). By limiting the channels that link to Twitter, the company can more effectively control the influx of spam from third-parties and bots.

The Return of the Chronological Timeline

Users have petitioned Twitter to bring back the chronological timeline, and it seems this time they finally listened. Previously the Twitter timeline was ranked based on popularity and relevancy. This change will likely prompt marketers and Twitter users to reconsider the frequency, topic, and timing of their posts.

Stricter Developer Rules

Developers working on Twitter apps will have to face stricter regulation before an app can be approved. Back in July, Twitter announced the removal of 143,000 apps that violated their policies on spammy, deceptive, and malicious content. Developers will now have to fill out an account application to maintain their apps, and undergo policy reviews if their app makes any significant updates. Developers are now also limited to registering 10 apps.

Predictions for Twitter in 2019

Judging by the account suspensions and stricter regulation, Twitter is taking a more serious stance on tackling abuse on the platform. So far the results appear positive— the company announced a profit this year for the first time since going public in 2013. Much of its growth in revenue stems from partnerships in streams and live-tweeting, as well as promoted tweets and hashtags.

As the company develops a safer and more democratic environment, they will no doubt face criticism regarding bias and censorship. Already the platform has been criticized for its divisive, sometimes hostile community. Co-founder Jack Dorsey is entertaining new ways to incentivize healthy conversation, so expect to see more experiments involving user metrics not tied to growth or engagement.

What do you foresee in Twitter’s future? Reach out to us on Twitter and Facebook, and let us know your thoughts. Keep an eye out for the next installment in this series, featuring the most popular social network: Facebook.