Published: Sat, July 28, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Twitter stocks dive 20% as users drop by a million

Twitter stocks dive 20% as users drop by a million

And though both companies rely on technology to target advertisers' messages at users, Twitter's barely been able to eke out a profit, while Facebook continues to generate billions.

For the second quarter, which ended June 30, Twitter reported 335 million users who logged in at least once a month, down from the 336 million users it counted in April.

Twitter said it also expected user declines in the current quarter which would likely be in the "mid-single-digit millions".

Twitter on Friday reiterated its efforts to "to invest in improving the health of the public conversation" on its platform, making the "long-term health" of its service a priority over short-term metrics - such as user numbers.

Twitter reported net income for the third consecutive quarter, which has helped drive the shares 79 percent higher this year to $42.94 at Thursday's close.

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But just like Facebook, Twitter said it's hitting a limit on how many people it can attract to its service, raising hairy questions about what these services can become.

The user outlook came as Twitter reported higher-than-expected revenue thanks to the FIFA World Cup, video ads and booming worldwide ad revenue. Twitter also earns revenue from licensing data. Worldwide ad revenue grew 40%, to $308 million - the first time non-U.S. sales represented the majority of total ad revenue. The company said its "value as a daily utility is enhanced when the conversation on the platform is healthy and people feel safe expressing themselves freely and openly".

Twitter has doubled in value over the past year as it became profitable for the first time and investors applauded its live video efforts.

In the meantime, Twitter's business, heavily dependent on advertising, is hanging in there.

The 1-million loss came from users in the United States, the company said.Despite the fall in user numbers, Twitter beat expectations for revenue as it reported $711 million in sales, up 24% year-over-year. Adjusted earnings were 17 cents a share.

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"Investors are overreacting to (monthly active user) trends", BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield said about the share fall. Markets outside the U.S. grew 44% year on year to $344 million.

Twitter said it was committed to cleaning up the site, addressing the issue of "problem behaviours" such as trolling.

Nonetheless, the newly announced decline in monthly users clearly anxious investors.

Twitter said it lost some users due to the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe in May but it did not note any revenue impact.

But some say Twitter's unique position as a real-time network that allows users to follow news and events will eventually pay off.

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The new capital expenditures forecast is for between $450 million and $500 million, up from $375 million to $450 million, as Twitter expands and upgrades the computer infrastructure underlying its service.

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