Twitter has no intention of easing up on its fight against spam users and other factors that jeopardize the “health” of its service, despite the approach costing it three million in ‘lost’ monthly active users.
Investor panic sent Twitter’s stock price down by nearly 20 percent in early trading today following its latest financial report. Twitter posted a record profit of $100 million for Q2, but its monthly user count dropped by one million, with its U.S. number in particular down to 68 million from 69 million in the previous quarter.
The company said on an earnings call that efforts aimed at “prioritizing the health of the platform” combined with other factors cost it three million monthly users — a number which could have turned the user decline into a more favorable story of growth.
The company is anticipating another drop in the next quarter as it continues to double down on fighting spam and bots on its service. That isn’t the only factor reducing numbers, however. A reassessment of its paid partnerships with carriers worldwide — which help bring in and retain new users — in response to the development of its Lite app is also forecast to reduce MAU.
Investors may be concerned, but Twitter is bullish that an increase in the quality of users is ultimately better in the long run that the short-term gain of higher numbers.
Answering questions on an earnings call, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the clean-up strategy would be ongoing as Twitter intends to “build [concerns for platform health] into our DNA.”
“When we do focus on removing some of the burden of people blocking/muting, we see positive results in our numbers,” he added. “We believe this will encourage our growth story.”
Yet the execs also played down the material impact by explaining that “many” of the “tens of millions” of removed accounts were already not counted within Twitter’s MAU metrics. Some, they added, had never been counted because they had been identified as questionable right from when they were registered.
Twitter explained as much in its earnings release:
When we suspend accounts, many of the removed accounts have already been excluded from MAU or DAU, either because the accounts were already inactive for more than one month at the time of suspension, or because they were caught at signup and were never included in MAU or DAU. We will continue to work hard to improve the health of the platform, providing updates on our progress at least quarterly, and prioritizing health efforts regardless of the near-term impact on metrics, as we believe the best driver of long-term growth of Twitter as a daily utility is a healthy conversation.
On the positive side, the executives played up the development of overseas revenue, which grew 44 percent year-on-year and now accounts for 48 percent of Twitter’s total income.