Twitter is now owned by Elon Musk — here’s a brief history from the app’s founding in 2006 to the present
In this photo illustration, former U.S. President Donald Trump’s archived Twitter account is shown on a phone screen with the Twitter logo in the background.A decade ago, Twitter ‘s future was looking bright. The company was benefiting from a flood of funding into the social-networking space, eventually leading to an IPO in 2013 that raised $1.8 billion.Now the company is back in private hands. And they happen to be the hands of Elon Musk, the richest person in the world and one of the app’s most high-profile provocateurs.It’s a massive moment. Twitter has become a key place for people to debate, joke and pontificate in their own circles of politics, sports, tech and finance. It’s also served as a platform that gives voice to the voiceless, helping protesters organize and express themselves in repressed regimes around the world.In recent years, however, Twitter and social media rivals like Facebook have been at the center of controversy over the distribution of fake news and misinformation, sometimes leading to bullying and violence.Investors had grown concerned about Twitter as a business. The company was generally unprofitable, struggled to keep pace with Google and Facebook, and often killed popular products with no real explanation.What follows is a brief history of Twitter , which — despite its many flaws — is one of the most iconic companies to come out of Silicon Valley in the past 20 years.In March, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams created Twitter , which was originally a side project stemming from the podcasting tool Odeo. That month, Dorsey would send the first Tweet that read, “just setting up my twttr.”In July, Twitter received a $100,000 Series A funding round led by Union Square Ventures. The app’s popularity started to explode after being heavily promoted by the tech community during the annual South by Southwest conference.Dorsey stepped down as CEO in October, and was replaced by Williams . According to the book “Hatching Twitter ” by journalist Nick Bilton, Twitter ‘s board fired Dorsey over concerns about the executive’s management style and public boastings. Twitter ‘s popularity continued to soar, leading to a high-profile appearance from Williams on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show alongside celebrity Ashton Kutcher . Kutcher would also write about Williams and Stone as part of Time Magazine’s Time 100 issue. Twitter was now a mainstream phenomenon. Twitter reached space, with NASA Astronaut Timothy Creamer sending the first tweet live from outer orbit. Behind the scenes, however, management woes continued with Williams stepping down as CEO, replaced by operating chief Dick Costolo . Twitter became an essential social media tool used during the Arab Spring, the wave of antigovernmental protests throughout Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Protesters used the site to post reports and to organize. As the Pew Research Center noted, Twitter ‘s role in “disseminating breaking news” was not “not limited to the Arab uprisings – the death of Whitney Houston, for example, was announced on Twitter 55 minutes prior to the AP confirming the story.” Twitter ‘s reach expanded to 200 million active users. Barack Obama used the “platform to first declare victory publicly in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, with a Tweet that was viewed approximately 25 million times on our platform and widely distributed offline in print and broadcast media,” according to corporate filings.
Twitter went public in November. The combined wealth of Williams , Dorsey, and Costolo hit roughly $4 billion.
“I think we’ve got a tremendous set of thoughts and strategies to increase the slope of the growth curve,” Costolo told CNBC at the time. “I would consider some of them tactics, some of them broader strategies, in service of doing what I referred to as bridge the gap between the massive awareness of Twitter and deep engagement of the platform.”
In March, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams created Twitter, which was originally a side project stemming from the podcasting tool Odeo. According to the book “Hatching Twitter” by journalist Nick Bilton, Twitter’s board fired Dorsey over concerns about the executive’s management style and public boastings.
Twitter’s popularity continued to soar, leading to a high-profile appearance from Williams on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show alongside celebrity Ashton Kutcher. Behind the scenes, however, management woes continued with Williams stepping down as CEO, replaced by operating chief Dick Costolo.