Business Insider has obtained a set of data that, if legitimate, reflects the ongoing narrative about Twitter. The once-lauded startup has been floundering since soon after its 2013 IPO—but more recently, sluggish use growth, a round of layoffs, plunging stock prices, and high-profile departures from its executive board have left Twitter rudderless. Now, Business Insider reports, leaked data collected through Twitter’s API reveals that the platform could be bleeding tweets, as well.
In August 2014, Twitter clocked a record high of 661 million tweets per day. That number has since been halved, according to the data, as the number of tweets fired each day has slowly declined over the past 18 months. (It’s worth noting that this slump has overlapped with election season in the U.S. which, one would think, should have boosted Twitter’s metrics.) Last month, Twitter allegedly only saw 303 million tweets a day.
Business Insider says the source of this data thinks Twitter’s millennial users may have discarded the platform in favor of newer apps like Snapchat and Instagram. From Business Insider‘s post:
Our source suspects that what while Twitter has retained a core of older professional users, like media professionals and politicians, it has lost a lot of younger users who tweeted a lot at their friends. Younger users create two or three times the number of tweets that older users do, our source believes. Those young people went to rival apps like Snapchat and Instagram, our source thinks. Both those apps have overtaken Twitter in monthly active users in the last couple of years.
Twitter, however, denies the validity of these numbers. “This data is not correct,” a Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider, noting that the company does not discuss third-party data.
Whether the data is accurate or not, Twitter is at a crossroads. Recent attempts to salvage Twitter’s user growth have fallen flat: Moments, the live coverage feature positioned to bait new users, has failed to meet the grand expectations set by its creators. And the proposals to expand the maximum tweet length beyond 140 characters and to adopt Facebook’s algorithmic timeline—ideas that the company has floated for some time—have not seen a positive response from users or investors.
Following former CEO Dick Costolo’s exit last year, Twitter reinstated cofounder Jack Dorsey as CEO, in the hopes that he could restore the company to its former glory—but Dorsey, who is also CEO of Square, has yet to prove his mettle.
We have reached out to Twitter for comment and will update this post if we hear back.