In quick succession this week, Twitter made a string of announcements on fake accounts, advertising policies and finally a company-wide organizational shake-up as the stock hovered at about $44 per share.
After CEO Jack Dorsey took back the reins in October 2015, Twitter went on a painful downward spiral riddled with layoffs, executive churn, lackluster revenue and ongoing harassment issues. In June 2016, the stock also sagged to an all-time low of $14 per share. Fast forward two years, and 2018 is shaping up to be Twitter's strongest year yet as far the stock is concerned: Since this time last year, it's skyrocketed more than 140%.
"We think execution was sub-par for about three years leading into 2017 and has improved under the return of its co-founder [Jack Dorsey] as CEO," wrote MKM analyst Rob Sanderson in April note upgrading Twitter's stock. "Despite this lengthy execution gap and hefty competition for user time and attention, the company has maintained its position as the go-to source for what's happening in the world....it increasingly appears that Twitter is here to stay."
But that's all in the past now, Twitter says. On Wednesday, they rolled out a new system to fight trolls and bots on the platform, requiring that new users verify by phone. In a blog post, Twitter also boasted that they're removing 214% more spammy accounts year-over-year, thanks to better algorithms for weeding out problem tweets.
"This is basically what happened during #TwitterLockout earlier this winter," said a Twitter spokesperson, referring to an earlier bot purge that resulted in some users getting their accounts locked temporarily. "So you can read our announcing this measure *before* we take action as us striving to be more transparent about our enforcement measures, and their impact."
The policy change echoed a May report from ISS Governance, which argued that Twitter should pull back the curtain on some of its policies.
"Shareholders would benefit from additional disclosure reviewing and compiling in one report the efficacy of its enforcement of its terms of service related to content policies," the report said.
Dorsey, who also runs Square (SQ - Get Report) , appears to be taking that idea seriously. And with Square also thriving (its share price is up nearly 80% since the beginning of the year), Dorsey critics who say he shouldn't juggle two CEO gigs at once aren't making as much noise as they once did.
In addition to booting more spammers and trolls from its platform, Twitter revealed a new ad transparency tool where anyone can view which accounts have paid for what ads. Along with Facebook (FB - Get Report) , Twitter has been criticized for hosting Russia-funded political ads.
In a series of tweets on Friday, Dorsey announced a sweeping re-org that prepare the company for "the next decade," he wrote.
We're reorganizing how Twitter is going to work together for the next decade. Sent this note to our team, and sharing with the world, because we want to be more open about how we think and work. This is a small but important step. Experimenting! Let us know what you think. pic.twitter.com/ygaIj9yjQi— jack (@jack) June 28, 2018
The changes include: Shifting to a discipline-based org structure that unifies Twitter's sprawling engineering group under one lead, Mike Montano. Dorsey also installed a new product chief, Kayvon Beykpour, who currently serves as Twitter's general manager of video and previously co-founded Periscope, Twitter's live video app. Head of product has historically been a troubled role at Twitter: Beykpour is the sixth exec to take the position since 2014. The previous head of both product and engineering, Ed Ho, has been on leave from Twitter since May.
Dorsey admitted in a tweet that the new structure could lead to "short-term risk, cost and thrash." But he expressed confidence that the changes will make Twitter leaner, meaner and more open with shareholders and the public.
"We want to be more open about how we think and work. This is a small but important step. Experimenting!" Dorsey wrote.