Business

Twitter profit rises as Trump demands 'fairer' social media

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter Incorporated yesterday trumpeted strong quarterly growth in earnings and users, while President Donald Trump tweeted criticism of the social media site for allegedly discriminating against him politically.

The company said net income for the first three months of the year rose on strong ad demand. Daily users rose 11% to 134 million for the first quarter of 2019, thanks to both “organic growth as well as ongoing product improvements and marketing”.

The San Francisco company started disclosing its daily user base in the previous quarter. 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.

Shortly after the numbers were released, Trump took to Twitter to lambaste the social media company's treatment of him, accusing it of playing “political games”.

“They don't treat me well as a Republican. Very discriminatory,” he said, and called for “more, and fairer, companies”, in an apparent reference to US lawmakers' interest in regulating tech companies. Trump has often criticised social media sites for being biased against Republicans.

The earnings report also included details of an experimental app that the company has been developing to make the social media site more “conversational”.

The app's biggest change is that it lets users view an entire Twitter thread instead of having to tap through each individual post.

“People love this,” said CEO Jack Dorsey, on an earnings call. “They love this more than the production Twitter app.”

Twitter executives said a small group of people started trying the app out a month ago but did not reveal when it would be launched.

The company posted profit of US$190.8 million, or 25 cents per share, for the first quarter. After adjusting for one-time gains and costs, earnings rose 10% to US$66.4 million, or nine cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research forecast earnings of 15 cents per share.

Revenue in the period came in at US$786.9 million, beating analyst forecasts of US$774.9 million.

Twitter said advertising demand in the first quarter grew strongly, led by the US, where ad revenue rose by a quarter.

Operating expenses rose 18% to US$693 million

For the current quarter ending in July, Twitter said it expects revenue in the range of US$770 million to US$830 million. Analysts surveyed by Zacks had expected revenue of US$821 million.

In morning trading, Twitter shares soared nearly 15% to US$39.48.


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