Twitter’s daily user base rose 14% to 139 million in the second quarter, an increase of 5 million users. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Twitter reports strong user growth

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter reported surprisingly strong second-quarter user numbers and revenue Friday, even as it eliminates robotic and fake accounts on its platform.

On that front, the social media messaging service said instances of suspicious behaviour and spam dropped by 18% during the second quarter.

But Twitter’s push to cut down on fake accounts costs money, and its adjusted profit fell 36% to about $37 million, or 5 cents per share. At the same time, revenue surged 18 per cent, to $841 million, far better than the $829 million that Wall Street was looking for, according to a survey by FactSet. In April, Twitter had forecast revenue of $770 million to $830 million for the quarter.

Twitter’s daily user base rose 14% to 139 million, an increase of 5 million users. Analysts were expecting 134.7 million daily users.

The San Francisco company started disclosing its daily user base earlier this year. These are users who log into the site at least once a day and see advertisements on the platform. Twitter says daily metric will replace its monthly user count, which it will stop disclosing.

Twitter has been trying to improve what the company calls the “health” of conversations on its platform amid widespread criticism that it doesn’t do enough to remove hate speech, abuse and harassment. In June, the company began placing warning labels on abusive and otherwise offending tweets by politicians and world leaders. Twitter has long argued that tweets from world leaders are in the public interest and should remain even if they violate the site’s terms. This became an issue with the election of President Donald Trump, who routinely uses Twitter to disparage enemies and rile up supporters.

With the new feature, users have to tap through the warning to see the underlying message, but the tweet won’t be removed, as Twitter might do with a regular person’s posts.

Twitter has redesigned its website in an attempt to make it simpler to use and encourage exploration. People who use Twitter on a desktop computer, rather than mobile tend to be the more serious users who tweet for work — social media professionals, journalists and the like.

Shares in Twitter rose 5% in premarket trading.

By The Associated Press

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