What happened

Shares of Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) fell 27.3% in October 2019, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The social media veteran posted disappointing third-quarter results late last month, triggering a share price drop of 20% in a single day.

So what

Twitter's third-quarter sales rose 8.7% year over year to $824 million. Adjusted earnings fell 19%, landing at $0.17 per share. The analyst consensus had been looking for earnings near $0.20 per share on revenues in the neighborhood of $874 million.

Management also set up modest guidance targets for the fourth quarter, including a revenue projection centered on $975 million. The average Street forecast for that metric stood at $1.06 billion at the time.

A businessman leans forward to get a closer look at a large red charting arrow crashing down through the floor at his feet.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Twitter's management said that weak third-quarter sales resulted from technical problems with its ad targeting systems. These software bugs reduced the top-line result by approximately 3% and will spill over into the fourth quarter as a 4% headwind to revenue growth.

Fellow Fool Leo Sun called Twitter "an also-ran in the social media race," hexed by soft advertiser interest as well as significant software issues. You won't see me treating this sharp price drop as a buying opportunity, because the social media space really does hold several Twitter alternatives of higher quality.