Twitter admits it overestimated its user numbers

Twitter announced its Q3 financials today which included a surprise beat that could lead it to a quarter of actual profitability before 2017 is out, but there is also less positive news.

The company admitted it had mistakenly counted users of Digits, the app it transferred to Google via the sale of its Fabric product in January, as part of its overall audience for the past year. At peak, that error inflated Twitter’s numbers by as many as two million.

An adjustment of between one and two million doesn’t seem huge given Twitter’s userbase is over 300 million, but growth has been so minimal that they could move the needle.

Here’s a recap of how the mis-measurement impacted Twitter’s recent numbers:

While Digits was an app that could be connected to Twitter, the company explained that not all of its users were necessarily Twitter users.

“These third-party applications used Digits, a software development kit of our now-divested Fabric platform, that allowed third-party applications to send authentication messages via SMS through our systems, which did not relate to activity on the Twitter platform,” it said in a note to shareholders.

The admission is reminiscent of Facebook, which last year admitted it had significantly inflated video views for three years due to a miscalculation.