Twitter Inc. just tripped up one of its top executives.
On Monday, Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto publicly tweeted about a plan he has to buy a company, including how he wanted to help make the deal happen at a meeting in mid-December. The message was posted on the microblogging service before it was deleted, with Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser confirming that Noto was trying to send the message privately.
“I still think we should buy them,” Noto tweeted. “He is on your schedule for Dec 15 or 16 — we will need to sell him. I have a plan.”
It’s unclear who Noto was trying to send a message to or which company he’s interested in purchasing. Prosser declined to comment further.
The incident shows that even top members of Twitter’s executive team, who are on a mission to better explain the company’s product potential to Wall Street, sometimes have trouble using the service. The slip-up is so common that it has a name — a “DM fail,” for “direct message fail.”
Such DM fails have happened on a relatively regular basis. In a high-profile Silicon Valley DM fail in 2010, startup investor Dave McClure mistakenly publicly tweeted that another Silicon Valley investor, Ron Conway, was throwing him under the bus over allegations that he was working with others to control the market for financing startups.
Improving the way private and public messaging works is one of Twitter’s top goals for its product, executives said at a meeting with investors earlier this month.
Noto, previously a technology banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and a former CFO at the National Football League, was an early adopter of Twitter, joining in 2009 when few other bankers used the service. Twitter has since become more acceptable in financial circles, especially when the Securities and Exchange Commission said in 2013 that it was an approved way for companies to distribute new information.
Noto took on the CFO role at Twitter in July. He led the San Francisco-based company’s effort to raise $1.8 billion in convertible debt in September, which Twitter said it would use so it can be opportunistic about dealmaking.
“Anthony’s ability to come up to speed quickly has been just delightful,” Twitter Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo said in an interview in October. “The rigor that he brings to everything he does is fantastic and causes everyone he works with to make sure they’re being just as rigorous as he is. It ups everyone’s game.”