Elon Musk revealed on Twitter on Saturday that due to a 50% drop in advertising revenue and a “heavy debt load”, the platform still has a negative cash flow.
The billionaire owner tweeted Saturdayin response to business advice from a follower, “Do we need to achieve positive cash flow before we have the luxury of anything else.”
The tweet is in stark contrast to his tone in April, when Musk told the BBC that the platform is now “about balanced” and that most of its advertisers have returned.
Ad revenue has been a contentious issue and an uphill battle for the site, after hordes of advertisers fled after Musk took over. Advertisers were concerned about content moderation, mass layoffs, and general uncertainty about Twitter’s future.
Linda Yaccarino, a former NBCUniversal marketing executive, recently took over as CEO from Musk — he’s likely banking on her advertising experience to bring them back.
The New York Times reported that Twitter’s US ad revenue from the five weeks from April 1 to the first week of May was down 59% year over year, citing an internal presentation. (CNN has not seen the presentation.)
Only 43% of Twitter’s top 1,000 advertisers as of September, the month before Musk’s takeover, were still advertising on the platform in April, according to data provided to CNN by market intelligence firm Sensor Tower last month.
“It’s definitely been extremely difficult,” Musk said in the Twitter Spaces livestream event Musk hosted with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. last month. “Basically, our revenue is cut in half because we didn’t make the line.” He added that it’s been a “huge struggle for Twitter to balance.”
And after its rival app, Meta’s Threads, passed 100 million downloads less than a week after its launch, Twitter is under increased pressure.
Musk has added a number of cost-cutting or cash-seeking measures to the site, from providing blue ticks with a Twitter Blue membership to putting Tweetdeck behind a paywall.
On Thursday, Twitter announced content creators will be able to get a share of the site’s ad revenue, ostensibly to encourage more creators to join the site. To be eligible, creators must have Twitter Blue and have at least 5 million views on their posts in each of the last three months.
Among the creators now cashing in on Twitter: Andrew Tate, the self-proclaimed “misogynistic” online influencer, who was indicted in Romania on charges of human trafficking, rape and the creation of a criminal gang.
CNN did not receive a comment from Twitter.