Published: Fri, February 08, 2019
Economy | By

Twitter posts bigger 4Q profit, monthly user base slips

Twitter posts bigger 4Q profit, monthly user base slips

In the past year, Twitter has focused on safeguarding the service amid scrutiny of its role in spreading fake news and election meddling as well as the broader data privacy backlash hitting the tech industry. Revenue rose from $723 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, to the fourth quarter of 2018.

All of that came alongside Twitter's announcement on Thursday that it's changing its user metrics in earnings releases. In the fourth quarter, the number of monthly of active users was down year over year by 9 million people to 321 million people.

Twitter has said it identified much less manipulation on its service during the 2018 US midterm elections from bad-faith actors located overseas than two years earlier during the presidential campaign.

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter Inc.

Now 321 million people use Twitter, as calculated on a monthly basis, down from 330 million a year earlier.

In its earnings report, Twitter said it plans to stop disclosing the monthly active user number after the first quarter of this year in favor of a newly introduced figure on "monetizable" daily active users.

Facebook reported $16.6 billion in ad sales in the fourth quarter previous year and Snapchat $390 million.

Shares were recently off 9.7 percent at $30.85. The company says it will not include the monthly count in future reports, saying, "We want to align our external stakeholders around one metric that reflects our goal of delivering value to people on Twitter every day and monetizing that usage". The company in 2018 marked its first full year of profitability under generally accepted accounted principles.

Those figures are a big deal compared to what Twitter pulled in a year ago, and revenues have risen from $665 million from Q1 through to $909 million now. For instance, earlier this week Snapchat reported that it has stopped shedding users and is keeping the service afloat at 186 million daily users - but it's not clear how many of those daily users are monetised by Snapchat.

Twitter's slice of the digital-advertising market is expected to decline this year as Facebook and Alphabet 's (GOOGL) Google tighten their grip and (AMZN) makes significant strides, according to eMarketer.

The total revenue for 2018 exceeded $3 billion.

The company, however, reported a better-than-expected 24 percent increase in fourth-quarter revenue, helped by growth in its video advertising business.

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