IT has its fair share of light-hearted moments, but Twitter can often be a hotbed of hateful content. Now, it finds itself embroiled in concerns over its response to racism and the hacking of high-profile accounts, with changes afoot.


The micro-blogging and social networking service, where users post "tweets", began in 2006 and surged in popularity, with 400,000 tweets posted per quarter of 2007 rising to 100 million per quarter in 2008. 


It has around 330 million monthly active users and each second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are posted on Twitter, which works out at more than 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year.

The stars?

The most popular Twitter account is Barack Obama's with 120 million followers, while Justin Bieber has 112 million, Katy Perry 108 million, Rihanna 97 million and Taylor Swift 87 million. Cristiano Ronaldo has 86 million followers, pipping Donald Trump's 84 million. Lady Gaga, Ellen DeGeneres and Ariana Grande round off the top 10 with 82, 80 and 75 million respectively.


Earlier this month, hackers hijacked the accounts of some of its most famous users. The FBI launched an investigation after Joe Biden, Bill Gates and Elon Musk were among those hit by what Twitter said was a "coordinated" attack as their verified accounts requested cryptocurrency donations.

Twitter responded?

It said the hackers had targeted employees "with access to internal systems and tools” to take control of “many highly-visible accounts”. It added that "significant steps" had been taken to prevent this from happening again.

Hateful content?

As Twitter has grown, so has the number of disruptive users - “trolls” - with abusive messages part and parcel of online life. Earlier this week, Downing Street said social media firms need to "go much further and faster in removing hateful content" from their platforms, as some users took part in a 48-hour boycott, running from 9am on Monday, including Lord Sugar and TV presenter Rachel Riley.

It came in the wake of…

…Grime artist, Wiley, posting a series of antisemitic tweets. Twitter eventually banned him for seven days, but stand accused of being slow to act initially because some of the tweets were still visible hours after they were highlighted. Twitter said “Abuse and harassment has no place on Twitter and we strongly condemn it”, adding: "We enforce our rules judiciously and impartially for all and take action if an account violates our rules”.

Trump is one of the most frequent high-profile users?

And he's not amused. One of his latest tweets state: "So disgusting to watch Twitter’s so-called 'Trending', where sooo many trends are about me, and never a good one. They look for anything they can find, make it as bad as possible, and blow it up, trying to make it trend. Really ridiculous, illegal, and, of course, very unfair!"

Changes ahead?

The firm indicated earlier this week that it is in the "very, very early phases of exploring" new revenue-generation approaches for Twitter, as ad revenue has plunged by 23% amid the pandemic. During a conference call with analysts to discuss the second quarter results, founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said that “you will likely see some tests this year”, with a subscription model in the frame. He said: “We do think there is a world where subscription is complementary, where commerce is complementary, where helping people manage paywalls … we think is complementary.”