Twitter makes profit for first time since launching 12 years ago

Twitter app on iPhone X

The apparent project is attempting to purge the site of automated accounts that are created to spread "malicious activity". "They're doing a better job of showing the right tweets to the right people at the right time".

Monthly active users were 330 million, flat sequentially but up 4% year over year. By contrast, Facebook has 2.2 billion and Instagram has more than 800 million.

When excluding revenue from Twitter's direct response advertising product, TellApart, from year-over-year comparisons (TellApart was fully deprecated for the length of Q4 2017), consolidated revenue was up 8% year over year. Monthly users in the USA averaged 68 million for the period, up 2% year-over-year and a decrease of 1 million quarter-over-quarter, reflecting the impact of the change in Safari. That's above the $687 million that analysts polled by FactSet were expecting.

The company, which has been cutting expenses, turned a profit of $91 million, or 12 cents per share, for the first time. The social networking company reported $0.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts' consensus estimates of $0.14 by $0.05. It peaked during the day at $35, its highest level since 2015. The company had posted a loss in every quarter since it went public in 2013.

Nonetheless, Twitter has big challenges ahead. The Verge speculates that it's possible that advertisers were reluctant to spend money on Twitter while the company faces major harassment issues.

The company also cited higher video ad sales and redesigned ad formats as helping to grow revenue. In November, the company published a clearer version of such policies. But enforcing them will be a bigger hurdle. Twitter has become the defacto place for the world to react to news, politics, sport, TV, weather and more. The company has introduced a slew of new measures to weed out abusive accounts.


Then there's the issue of automated accounts made to look like real people.

Twitter has said it's dealing with the problems.

But Twitter over-delivered on its promise, reporting adjusted EBITDA of $308 million. The troubles have been compounded by stagnant user growth.

Twitter had a decent end to 2017, despite its bot problem. The number of monthly average users remained flat quarter-over-quarter, which was lower than analysts had expected and which Twitter attributed to a change to Safari's third-party app integration and the company's own efforts to reduce spam, malicious automation and fake accounts, problems that have taken on new urgency for Twitter as it has became clear how Russian-linked accounts influenced content on the platform around the 2016 USA presidential election.

"It really is the fastest newswire service we've ever seen", she said.

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