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Twitter shares surge as Trump accuses it of ‘political games’

Social media platform’s revenues up 18% as president criticises its treatment of him

WT24 Desk

Twitter has reported better-than-expected financial results, sending its shares surging, as Donald Trump accused the social media platform of “playing political games”, The Guardian reports.

Revenues for the first quarter climbed by 18% to $787m (£605m), beating Wall Street forecasts of $776m. Revenues were boosted by ad sales that also rose 18%, to $679m. Its shares jumped nearly 13% to $38.81. A year ago, they were changing hands at $31.22.

Twitter’s monthly active users dropped by 6 million from this time last year to 330 million, but were up by 9 million compared with the previous quarter.

However, the firm forecast second-quarter revenues that are below Wall Street estimates. It expects revenues to reach $770m to $830m, compared with $819.5m forecast by analysts polled by Refinitiv.

Under pressure from US lawmakers, as is its rival Facebook, Twitter has ramped up spending on measures to clean up the platform. It has been removing thousands of spam and suspicious accounts – which it has blamed for declines in user numbers.

“We are taking a more proactive approach to reducing abuse and its effects on Twitter,” said the Twitter chief executive, Jack Dorsey.

“We are reducing the burden on victims and, where possible, taking action before abuse is reported. For example, we are now removing 2.5 times more tweets that share personal information and about 38% of abusive tweets that are taken down every week are being proactively detected by machine learning models.”

This pushed up costs by 18% to $693m in the first quarter, resulting in net income of $191m. Excluding a tax benefit of $124m, adjusted net income was $66m, up from $61m a year ago.

The number of “monetisable” daily active users – users who are exposed to advertising on a daily basis – rose to 134 million, up from 120 million a year ago and 126 million in the previous quarter.

Dorsey added: “We’re also continuing our work to make Twitter more conversational via the launch of our public prototype app (twttr), with the end goal of making conversation on Twitter feel faster, more fluid and more fun.”

Facebook, which will report its first-quarter results on Wednesday, is expected to post a rare fall in profits due to the cost of cleaning up its social media network.

Trump, who often announces policy changes on Twitter, tweeted to complain about discrimination he had faced as a Republican from Twitter. He called for “more, and fairer” social media companies.

Twitter said in response: “We enforce the Twitter rules dispassionately and equally for all users, regardless of their background or political affiliation. We are constantly working to improve our systems and will continue to be transparent in our efforts.”

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