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Twitter is an online service that lets users send and read short messages called “tweets”. The site is used by celebrities, brands and journalists to distribute news directly to their fans. The site was launched in July 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass. The company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013. The company was purchased by Elon Musk, for $44 billion, in September 2022.

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Jul 2007

Invests in Twitter

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Twitter announces a round led by Union Square Ventures and including Conway, Andreessen, and others. It doesn’t disclose the funding amount or valuation. Twitter:

Twitter has had such an awesome start and now we’re even more excited to keep up the momentum. We’re very much looking forward to building a strong and sustainable company.

16 Oct, 2008

Steps down as CEO

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Dorsey steps down as CEO of Twitter. Co-founder and former Chairman Evan Williams takes his place. Williams makes a post on Twitter’s blog:

While the board of directors and the company have nothing but praise for where Jack has taken us, we also agree that the best way forward is for Jack to step into the role Chairman, and for me to become CEO. Jack will remain on the board and be closely consulted for all strategic decisions, while I take on day-to-day operations with the support of Biz, Jason, Greg, and the rest of this impressive Twitter team.

22 Jan, 2010

First tweet from space

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Expedition 22 flight engineer T.J. Creamer posts the first unassisted tweet from the International Space Station. Before this point, all astronauts must email their tweets to Earth before they can be posted. The tweet is made possible by an upgrade that allows the International Space Station to access the World Wide Web.

6 Jun, 2012

Logo update

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Twitter updates its bird logo for the first time in the company’s history. The new design is more simplified and darker in color:

Our new bird grows out of love for ornithology, design within creative constraints, and simple geometry. This bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles — similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends. Whether soaring high above the earth to take in a broad view, or flocking with other birds to achieve a common purpose, a bird in flight is the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility.

18 Apr, 2013

Twitter #music

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Twitter releases Twitter #music, a service that uses data from tweets to determine what the most popular and emerging artists of the moment are. Users can then listen to the songs using iTunes previews, or listen to the entire songs with Spotify or Rdio if they have subscriptions to those services:

Today, we’re releasing Twitter #music, a new service that will change the way people find music, based on Twitter. It uses Twitter activity, including Tweets and engagement, to detect and surface the most popular tracks and emerging artists.

12 Oct, 2013

Acquires Vine

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Vine LogoTwitter acquires Vine, a service that allows users to upload video clips up to six seconds long, before its official launch. The company spends $30,000,000 on the site. The three developers of Vine, Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll, are all able to keep their positions at the company. Hofmann says:

Our companies share similar values and goals; like Twitter, we want to make it easier for people to come together to share and discover what’s happening in the world. We also believe constraint inspires creativity, whether it’s through a 140-character Tweet or a six-second video.

19 Jun, 2014

Acquires SnappyTV

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Twitter announces its acquisition of SnappyTV, a platform for clipping and editing small segments of TV shows. This allows Twitter users to easily share TV clips with their followers:

As Twitter has grown as the companion to live events and broadcast media, SnappyTV will help partners and brands bring the best videos into the conversation, when it matters most.

Using SnappyTV to Create Instant Highlights of Live TV

2 Jul, 2014

‘Jihadi Vogue’

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Twitter users create a fake Jihadi Vogue magazine cover to spoof ISIS. The cover offers style tips on the right headbands to wear in combat, ‘eight reasons why moustaches are out,’ and ‘accessorize like a neo-Abassid.’

https://twitter.com/abuwaheeb_ISIS/statuses/488697707591376897

9 Jul, 2014

Age discrimination lawsuit

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Peter Taylor, Twitter’s former manager of data center deployment, files a lawsuit alleging that he is fired based on his age (57). He says he is let go immediately after undergoing a procedure to remove kidney stones. Twitter releases a statement saying they disagree with the allegations:

This case is without merit and we will vigorously defend ourselves against it.

17 Jul, 2014

#twitterpurge

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The hashtag #twitterpurge circulates on Twitter and involves posting nude photos of people who do not consent to it. The hashtag is inspired by the movie The Purge: Anarchy, where all crime is legal for one night per year. It is started by the account @Scv_Purge, which releases 17 photos of nude teenagers, and is followed by the account @Scv_Purge_1, which releases a further 20 after the first account is banned. A Twitter spokesperson tells Flavorwire that they are not responsible for this incident:

We do not proactively monitor content on the platform. Users should report potential violations of our rules through individual Tweets and forms available on our site.

23 Jul, 2014

First diversity report released

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The company releases its first gender and ethnicity report on its employees. Men make up 70 percent of positions in the company. Fifty-nine percent of the employees are white and 29 percent are Asian.

Twitter says:

Like our peers, we have a lot of work to do.

Ethnicity and gender figures at Twitter are similar to those that are reported from Facebook, Google and Yahoo.

8 Aug, 2014

#AMessageFromISIStoUS hashtag

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Social media users hijack the #AMessageFromISIStoUS hashtag after the group introduces it to spread violent images. Twitter users in the U.S. respond with pictures of a bald eagle, a ‘bacon grenade,’ and references to bestiality and threats of military superiority.

11 Aug, 2014

Study: Twitter causes ‘psychotic symptoms’

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A case-study published in the Journal of Nervous And Mental Disease says that Twitter may have been the cause of psychotic symptoms in a woman called “Mrs. C.” The article says she showed no signs of mental illness until she became obsessed with Twitter and developed delusions of hidden messages behind people’s tweets. The researchers say Twitter could aggravate psychosis in at-risk populations:

The amount of symbolic language (caused by the limitation of 140 characters per Twitter message), the automated spam responses with seemingly related content, and the general interactive features of Twitter might combine several aspects that could induce or further aggravate psychosis

12 Aug, 2014

Promoted Video

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Twitter announces the Promoted Video program, where advertisers can pay to have their videos appear in people’s Twitter stream. The videos do not play automatically, and advertisers are only charged when users view the video:

In the spirit of making campaign setup easier, we now offer advertisers the ability to run ads with a new Cost Per View (CPV) ad buying model. This means advertisers only get charged when a users starts playing the video. Additionally, advertisers using Promoted Video have access to robust video analytics, including completion percentage and a breakout of organic vs. paid video views.

14 Aug, 2014

Cyberbullied

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After Williams’ daughter, Zelda, receives harassing messages and disturbing photos following her father’s death and deletes Twitter from her devices, Twitter announces their policies are being reviewed. Del Harvey, vice president of trust and safety at Twitter, says in a statement to ABC News:

We have suspended a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules and we are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one. This includes expanding our policies regarding self-harm and private information, and improving support for family members of deceased users.

20 Aug, 2014

Suspends accounts showing beheading

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Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo announces that the platform is “actively suspending” accounts which are tweeting beheading pictures. This is in response to the tweeting of pictures allegedly showing the Islamic State (ISIS) beheading James Foley, an American journalist. Screenshots of the video, which remained on You Tube for four  minutes and 40 seconds, as well as other images were then posted and shared on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/dickc/status/502005459067625473

26 Aug, 2014

Hijacks hashtags

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isis-napaquake-hashtagISIS hijacks popular hashtags in order to promote its messages as part of a sophisticated social media campaign, experts say. In one example of the tactic, a Twitter account related to the militant group, also known as Islamic State, appears to co-opts the #napaquake and #AskRicky hashtags, among others, to spread an image of a masked fighter holding an assault rifle while the White House burns in the background. Accompanying caption:

IF AMERICAN ENTERED THE WAR WE WILL INVADE IT’S [sic] TERRITORY.

#StevensHeadInObamasHands hashtag

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isis-stevens-hashtagISIS is promoting the hashtag #StevensHeadInObamasHands, an apparent threat against U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, believed to be captured by the group. The tag is first released in a forum where the group tends to issue publications and instructions. In one use of the hashtag, a doctored photo shows an ISIS fighter with Obama’s face holding Sotloff prisoner, with the caption ‘Why would I care about him?’ Accompanying tweet:

Hey American .. This picture is a copy of the reality that you are not aware of it !