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Twitter Gets Overrun By Ads, And Tweeters Are Understandably Unpleased

Twitter is receiving user backlash for an unexpected slew of promoted tweets overrunning their respective timelines.

Twitter, the application centred around people sharing and conversing over opinions and news in the form of short posts called tweets (limited up to 280 characters), is doing very well for itself. With a net worth of billions, and a user base to match, there’s very little that seems to checker its rise to the top. A major part of that revenue comes from advertisements that Twitter runs, labelled as being “promoted tweets”. Essentially, these tweets (similar in effect to Facebook’s sponsored posts) will receive a boost in viewership, as Twitter will automatically include it in the feeds of other people not necessarily following the originating account. The viewership can be anywhere from hundreds to thousands, depending on how much an account wishes to spend on that particular tweet. This also gives fresher start-ups and businesses the ability to choose how much they invest in advertising. Everyone wins, right?

Well, not so apparently, as users across Twitter are banding together and complaining about encountering more of these sponsored posts than should be reasonable. Some complain about promotions showing up to 4 times or more within a few minutes of scrolling, and are accusing Twitter of deliberately increasing such tweets to rake in more money. Such an argument, while seeming superficially silly, does hold a surprising amount of weight.

While this author has mentioned above how there “seems” to be very little in the way of Twitter’s growth, certain experts disagree. Forbes even published a details analysis about how the app’s growth has seen a sharp decline over the last few years. The app saw an estimated 100 million fall in active users from 2013 to 2019. A report from April 2020 showed an 18% decline in their stock since the start of the year. The former analysis even speculates that Twitter has started including branded content as a part of their user tweets in order to beef up numbers and maintain a sheen of commercial success.

Social backlash to such a problem has the potential of coming off as trivial or privileged ranting. So what if someone comes across 4 sponsored tweets? Scroll on ahead and they’ll disappear. But in the increasingly consumerist world we’re living in, with mega corporations and the 1% hoarding wealth and products, people view unnecessary advertisement with weary disillusionment. Even if such advertising comes from small start-ups, its a splash of cold water from an application that’s meant to either be escapism from today’s world, or a place to let people fixate on hobbies and world issues without blaring neon signs and filters.

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