Twitter sees earnings stall as it battles with false information ahead of United States project

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Twitter reported its 3rd quarter profits on Thursday.


Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter’s efforts to make itself a much healthier location assisted it generate users even as debate over its policies warms up with the United States moving into a brand-new election cycle. The user development, nevertheless, didn’t equate into strong earnings or revenue gains. 

On Thursday, Twitter stated that 145 million users visited and were revealed advertisements daily throughout the 3rd quarter, up 17% from the 124 million monetizable everyday active users the business reported in the exact same quarter a year previously. The social media network mentioned its efforts to tidy up the health of the platform, consisting of using automation to eliminate harmful tweets prior to users reported them. CEO Jack Dorsey stated that majority of all tweets removed were gotten rid of that method.

“Health is going to be an ongoing initiative for us,” Dorsey stated in a conference call Thursday. “It’s going to be our No. 1 priority for quite some time.”


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Twitter’s bump in users, however, couldn’t offset weakness in revenue or profit growth. The company missed analyst expectations on both measures, sending the company’s shares plummeting. In the three months ended Sept. 30, Twitter reported $823.7 million in revenue, up 9% from a year earlier but well below the $873.9 million analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected. The company earned 5 cents per share, missing Wall Street’s expectations of 20 cents per share.

Twitter didn’t give investors reason to be hopeful. In a letter to shareholders, Twitter cited “a number of headwinds” including “revenue product issues” and seasonal advertising fluctuations in July and August that were greater than expected. The company forecast revenue of between $940 million and $1.01 billion for the current quarter, below analysts’ expectations of $1.06 billion.

Shares dropped 19% to $31.41 in early trading.

“Twitter’s momentum from the past several quarters has cooled,” said eMarketer senior analyst Jasmine Enberg in a statement. The revenue miss, blamed on issues with its ad product, could impact the company’s growth in the fourth quarter, she said.

In October, Twitter said that phone numbers and emails users provided to safeguard the security of their accounts may have been used for advertising purposes. The company said as of Sept. 17, it has addressed this issue and no longer use this information for ad targeting.

The company has been focusing on new features aimed at making it easier for users to find what they’re looking for and to control their experiences on the social network. In September, Twitter began allowing people in the US and Japan to hide their replies as part of an experiment to fuel more positive conversations. Dorsey said Thursday that Twitter wants to add more controls to help people find the content about events, topics and interests.

Twitter, like other social networks, has struggled to enforce rules against misinformation, hate speech and other offensive content. Controversy over those policies has heated up as the US heads into the 2020 presidential election cycle. Earlier this month, Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, asked Twitter to suspend President Donald Trump’s account, arguing his tweets violated the site’s rules against bullying. In a letter sent to the company, Harris cited several tweets from Trump, including some she said targeted a whistleblower whose complaint about Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president led to an impeachment inquiry.

Over the summer, Twitter said it would place a notice over tweets from elected and government officials who break the company’s rules. Twitter, which hasn’t used the new notice yet, said people won’t be able to like, reply, share or retweet these tweets.

This week, Twitter said it planned to make policy changes to address manipulated media, including deepfake videos that use artificial intelligence that can make it seem someone is doing or saying something they aren’t.

Dorsey said Twitter will continue to be on guard against misinformation. That means identifying forms of manipulation used to amplify misleading information, increasing transparency around ad purchases and targeting, and challenging suspicious logins and account creation

“Our No. 1 priority within elections,” Dorsey said on the call, “is making sure we’re protecting the integrity of the conversation around the election.” 

Originally published at 4:11 a.m. PT.
Updated 6:47 a.m PT: Adds information from Twitter’s conference call.
Updated 8:11 a.m. PT: Adds analyst remarks.

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