Twitter plummets 18% after reporting a decline in monthly active users

Twitter’s share price fell as much as 18% after the company reported a quarter-over-quarter decline in monthly active users.

The company reported its Q2 financials as follows, beating on revenue and with EBITDA in line with estimates:

  • Revenue: $US711 million, up 24% year on year and beating expectations of $US696 million.
  • EBITDA: $US265 million, up from $US178 million last year
  • MAU: 335 million, down from 336 million in Q1, but up from 326 million in Q2 2017. Analysts had a expected a 1 million gain.

Twitter blamed the active user decline on new European privacy rules and its decision not to move to paid SMS carrier relationships, and on its efforts to clean up the platform.

Twitter’s put its EBITDA guidance for the third quarter between $US215 million and $US235 million.

Chief executive Jack Dorsey said: “Our second quarter results reflect the work we’re doing to ensure more people get value from Twitter every day.

“We want people to feel safe freely expressing themselves and have launched new tools to address problem behaviours that distort and distract from the public conversation.”

Dorsey said daily active users had growth 11%, but the company didn’t break out figures.

The company saw strong gains in advertising, with revenue up 23% year on year to $US601 million.

Its fees from licensing information out brought in $US109 million in revenue, up 29% year on year.

Twitter saw fastest revenue growth in international markets, which now account for half its revenue. Markets outside the US grew 44% year on year to $US344 million. The US grew just 10%, and brought in $US367 million.

Twitter said its long-term health was more important than immediate growth numbers

In a letter to shareholders, Twitter emphasised the efforts it’s making to clean up the “health” of the platform, after ongoing complaints about misogyny, trolling, racism and misinformation.

“We continue to invest in improving the health of the public conversation on Twitter, making the service better by integrating new behavioural signals to remove spammy and suspicious accounts and continuing to prioritise the long-term health of the platform over near-term metrics,” the company wrote.

“We are proud of the tangible improvements people are seeing on Twitter. We believe Twitter’s value as a daily utility is enhanced when the conversation on the platform is healthy and people feel safe expressing themselves freely and openly.”

The company is also trying to tackle accusations of censorship, after Vice News reported it was “shadow banning” Republican accounts. Twitter denied shadow banning, and said the problem was down to a bug that affected “hundreds of thousands of accounts.”

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