Trading in Twitter’s shares was suspended in New York on Tuesday after a tweet, containing the company’s latest results ahead of their official release, sparked a slump in its value.
A research firm, Selerity, was reportedly identified as the source of the premature report, which saw the social network’s value plunge by 20%, but it insisted its tweet was sourced from Twitter’s own website and was not the result of any hack or leak.
Responsibility for the blunder later shifted to the Nasdaq index, which is responsible for Twitter’s investor relations page.
The company’s stock lost even more ground when trading resumed after its first quarter numbers were officially announced, with revenue and its outlook falling short of expectations.
Twitter’s revenue rose 74% to $436m during the period and it posted a loss of $162m – $30m deeper than in the same three months in 2014.
The company said it had 302 million average monthly users in the first quarter, up 18%.
That was seen as something of a recovery on the previous three months when user growth disappointed.
Twitter blamed the revenue shortfall on lower-than-expected contributions from some of its newer “direct-response” advertising products, tools which help advertisers communicate with customers in real time.
Investors were looking for stronger advertising growth and were also dismayed by second quarter revenue forecasts of $470m-$485m and wider full-year projections.
Twitter accounted for less than 1% of the $145bn digital advertising market last year, according to research firm eMarketer.
In comparison, Facebook’s share was nearly 8% and Google’s was more than 31%.
By the time the stock market closed, Twitter’s shares were down $9.39 or 18.2 percent but after-hours trading behaviour suggested the stock would recover some of the lost value in early trading on Wednesday.