Twitter has agreed to acquire Smyte, a San Francisco-based technology company that specialises in safety, spam, and security issues.
“Smyte’s team, technology and company mission are aligned with our focus on improving the health of conversation on Twitter, and we believe this will be a powerful addition to our ongoing work…“We can’t wait until they join our team to help us make changes that will further improve the health of the public conversation,” the announcement from Twitter further said.
Even though the site has established itself as an irrevocable part of pop culture and current affairs, realizing laurels like becoming the largest source of breaking news on the day of the 2016 US presidential election, the ability to abuse any user or threaten the safety of a living person using Twitter has made it a toxic and unsafe social network, and played a role in diminishing user growth. The use of services like Smyte would help Twitter further crackdown on imposters using Twitter to emotionally and verbally abuse other individuals.
“Their review tools and processes will be powerful additions to our own tools and technology that help us keep Twitter safe. We’ll integrate this technology to strengthen our systems and operations in the coming months”.
Founded in 2014 by Josh Yudaken, Julian Tempelsman, Pete Hunt Smyte combats abuse using customizable rules and configurable ML models trained by event data and content signals. The platform is configurable via SQRL Rules Engine and adaptable to the technology stack and unique behavior of users. Prior to acquisition by Twitter, the startup of about 20 employees had raised $6.3 million in seed and series A.
During the past three years, the Smyte team helped large and small customers alike solve issues with spam, abuse and fraud. “From ensuring safety and security at some of the world’s largest companies to specialised domain expertise, Smyte’s years of experience with these issues brings valuable insight to our team,” Twitter said.
The transition was not a smooth one as media reports highlighted how many of Smyte customers like Indiegogo, GoFundMe, Musical.ly, TaskRabbit, Meetup, OLX, ThredUp, YouNow, 99designs, Carouselland Zendesk could not access Smyte’s application-programming interface (API) and no prior notice of service denial was made to the customers. Twitter was said to have contacted Smyte clients blocked from services and attempted to find replacement service providers. Smyte has over 100 million users.
Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams and launched in July of that year. In November 2013, it opened for trading on NYSE. Since then growth of the company has slowed down baffling investors and only reported its first quarter of net profit in 2018. At close of trading on 25 June 2018 in New York, its market cap was just over $35 billion.
Over the years Twitter has made a number of acquisitions to consolidate its business like Vine (shut down in early 2017); Periscope, an app which allows live streams of video; Niche, an advertising network for social media stars; TellApart, a commerce ads tech firm; and artificial intelligence startup Magic Pony.