Twitter’s monthly users decline, but it’s cleaning up its act

27 Jul 2018

Twitter HQ on Market Street, San Francisco. Image: InFootage/Shutterstock

In its latest earnings report, Twitter says it is concentrating on promoting ‘healthy conversation’ on the platform.

This earnings season, Twitter saw a decline in monthly active users (MAU) of around 1m, from 336m in Q1 of 2018 to 335m this quarter.

As opposed to pushing for growth, the company strategy has concentrated on tackling its notorious spam and bot account problem.

Twitter said that GDPR played a small role in the MAU decrease, warning that this metric could continue to decline by “mid-single-digit millions” in the third quarter of this year.

An unending task

On a call with investors, CEO Jack Dorsey said: “We don’t think this work will necessarily ever be done, it’s one of those things like security and privacy as it constantly evolves.

“We made a major shift this year in shifting more of our model and enforcement towards behaviour and conduct on the platform, rather than content. That’s entirely machine learning and deep-learning-driven.”

He added: “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.”

The company’s algorithms are identifying more than 9m potential spam or automated accounts on a weekly basis.

Daily active users grew 11pc compared to 2017’s Q2 results, but no exact figures were provided. The firm also highlighted its investment in video, which involves multiple agreements for its live streaming, Amplify, highlights and video-on-demand offerings.

In terms of earnings, things are looking fairly robust for the platform. Total sales rose 24pc to $711m and ad sales were 23pc higher than Q2 of 2017.

Making Twitter healthier

Dorsey stressed that the efforts Twitter is making are contributing to a long-term plan for the company’s overall health.

He noted further features allowing users to follow news stories in more detail, as they happen. “We’re also continuing to make it easier for people to find and follow breaking news and events, and have introduced machine-learning algorithms that organise the conversation around events, beginning with the World Cup.”

Twitter HQ on Market Street, San Francisco. Image: InFootage/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects