According to Ryan Terpstra, founder and CEO of Selerity, which first published numbers from the report, the company “uses an automated proprietary search process to detect breaking news, [and] our automated process at 3:07 p.m. [ET] detected a valid earnings release from Twitter’s investor relations page.”
Terpstra told VentureBeat that Selerity’s natural-language processing algorithms determined that because of the language in the Twitter post, the company “determined it was valid.”
Twitter did not immediately respond to a VentureBeat request for comment. But it did tweet, “We are investigating the source of the leak.” And on its earnings call, it essentially blamed Nasdaq, which it says managed the publication of its earnings reports.
Twitter’s shares dropped nearly 19 percent after the leak, which was scheduled to be released after the financial markets closed. The company missed analyst expectations, bringing in $436 million in revenue, lower than the expected $456.8 million. However, it had a non-GAAP earnings per share of 7 cents, compared with an expected 4 cents.
It is unusual for a company to put its earnings report online before the markets close. But Terpstra said that Selerity had detected Microsoft’s earnings several years ago on the company’s investor relations page while the markets were still open. “We’ve also seen Bloomberg report on companies like Disney during market hours,” he said.
Updated at 2:04 p.m. to include information from Twitter’s earnings call.