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Twitter’s user growth has stalled, amid controversy

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Twitter is influential in media and political circles, but its reach, when viewed within the overall social media industry, remains quite low compared to the likes of Facebook, or Facebook’s picture sharing arm, Instagram.

That is why Twitter has been under pressure from investors since it went public in 2013 to grow users, and thus ad revenue.

But the company has seen little success in this, continuing to struggle – and to push for a metric friendlier to its business than the number of monthly users. In order to paint a picture of growth, the platform will, going forward, stop revealing the number of monthly users, and focus on the daily user figures.

The Verge has looked into Twitter’s latest earnings report to say that the monthly count at the end of last quarter stood at 330 million, up from 321 million – but lower than the 336 million a year ago – while the the number of daily users has increased to 134 million: that’s 14 million more year on year and eight million more compared to the previous quarter.

There’s more “creativeness” the company is employing as part of its preferred metrics, arguing that it only counts users who see ads and are therefore monetizable. Twitter says this differentiates it from other social platforms – such as Facebook with its 1.5 billion daily users, and Instagram and Snapchat with 500 and 186 million, respectively. But the report noted that unlike Twitter, these competitors are likely to be reaching most of their users with ads, anyway.

One way to “grow” or appear to be growing is to remove a large number of accounts – with these users then returning to sign up again. This may or may not be the case with Twitter, as the company announced last year it was removing millions of users for spamming and other unwanted behaviors.

Speaking of which, the earnings report mentions Twitter’s activities to suppress abuse occurring on its service, but The Verge said this point was not addressed in a clear way. What Twitter has revealed, though, is that these days it is deleting “2.5 times as many tweets that share personal information” – and “38 percent of those are detected by machine learning before anyone can report them.”

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