Twitter is gaining more users, losing less money

But do advertisers want to spend money where the trolls live?


Twitter has updated us on the state of its business and, if you squint, you can almost see that things are picking up for the service. The company revealed that while revenues fell by $164 million, it managed to trim its quarterly losses down to just $62 million. By comparison, Twitter burned $167 million in the last three months of 2016 and $80 million in the same quarter last year.

Twitter has also had a problem with perma-stagnant user growth, with the number of monthly users hovering around the 310 to 320 million mark for the last year. Not so in the most recent quarter, which saw the number of daily users rise to a total of 328 million.

User numbers are up, losses are down, but Twitter can't yet make its advertising service work, and that's a problem. The company saw ad engagement fall, as well as the amount of money advertisers spent with the service. But, as a counter to that, Twitter beat its own estimates, raking in $548 million when it expected to earn $511.9 million.

In his remarks, CEO Jack Dorsey says that he is "encouraged by the audience growth momentum," and believes that profitability is coming. He does concede, however, that the company will face "revenue headwinds," as the service struggles to carve out an identity for itself in the face of so much competition.

Twitter doesn't speculate on why, suddenly, user numbers are up so high, but we can, and it's probably down to you know who. Since the current incumbent of the White House uses the service as his own personal megaphone, people are likely to tune in.

Another reason for optimism is that Twitter lost a lot of cash last quarter thanks to restructuring charges and severance costs. In October, the company laid off around 350 employees in the hopes of trimming costs, as well as shutting down the six-second video platform Vine.

Not to mention, of course, that Twitter has started to make some changes to its platform to address its abuse problem. It has instituted automatic blocking of abusive accounts and has moved to restrict users who misuse the platform to spread hate speech. Oh, and it blocked noted assholes Martin Shkreli and Tila Tequila, so it's clearly doing something right.