Tech

Twitter CFO says the company remains on the right course as shares plummet

Key Points
  • "We feel really good about the progress me made, yet we still feel accountable for the issues that came up and we intend to address them," says Twitter CFO Ned Segal.
  • Twitter shares opened nearly 18% lower on Wall Street after the social media company reported disappointing third-quarter results.
  • Segal warns investors that headwinds continue to affect performance into the fourth quarter.
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Twitter's chief financial officer Ned Segal breaks down earnings miss

Twitter Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal told CNBC on Thursday that the company is focusing on the right issues to correct the problems that led to lower-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue.

"We feel really good about the progress me made, yet we still feel accountable for the issues that came up and we intend to address them," Segal said shortly after the company announced disappointing third-quarter financials. "The work we're doing on our consumer product, these are the right places for us to be spending our time right now."

Twitter shares opened nearly 18% lower on Wall Street after being down as much as 20% in the premarket. The company blamed "a number of headwinds" for the revenue shortfall, such as product issues and lower-than-expected advertising volumes.

In one particular bug, a new user to Twitter was asked whether the platform could use device-specific settings to personalize the user's timeline. The platform collected that data, even when the user responded "no" to the prompt. The company realized the improper use of user data and shut off the feature entirely, limiting its ability to target and sell ads.

The company also saw an issue with reporting user data to advertising partners. Twitter, which allows users to opt out of having their data shared with advertisers, was "passing on data which we had not intended to," Segal said earlier on the earnings call. He formerly was an executive at tax company Intuit, and before that he worked at Goldman Sachs.

Later on CNBC, Segal warned investors that headwinds continue to affect performance into the fourth quarter. The social media giant is expecting lighter-than-expected Q4 revenue. Twitter said expects to bring in revenue of $940 million to $1.01 billion, just shy of the $1.06 billion that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv had forecast.

If Thursday's stock losses were to hold by the close, about $6 billion would be shaved off Twitter's market value. Prior to the report, shares were up 35% in 2019 for a market cap just above $30 billion.

— CNBC's Sara Salinas contributed to this report.