Twitter stock sinks after reporting decline in active users

The Latest Twitter's stock plunges on weak user numbers

Twitter share price tumbles after it loses 1m users in three months

Twitter's EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) was $265 million, up from $178 million a year ago, but critically, their monthly active users for the quarter were 335 million, down from 336 million in the first quarter.

Both Twitter and Facebook moved to crack down on bots and fake accounts after learning of efforts to manipulate the social platforms during the 2016 USA presidential election.

Tech firms have been under pressure in several countries to be stricter over abusive content and misinformation or "fake news" as well as political influence and protection of personal data. The company told investors in its second-quarter earnings announcement that the drop in users reflected "impact from decisions we have made to prioritise the health of the platform".

Revenue increased 24 percent to $710 million in the period, topping the analyst average estimate of $697 million.

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This is the company's third profit in a row and the third it has ever posted.

Twitter is now attempting to rein in the worst offenders after years as one of the Wild West corners of the internet.

"We continue to invest in improving the health of the public conversation on Twitter, making the service better by integrating new behavioral signals to remove spammy and suspicious accounts and continuing to prioritize the long-term health of the platform over near-term metrics", the company wrote.

Twitter had said earlier in July that deleting phony accounts would not have much impact on monthly users, since the purge focused on inactive accounts. They were all attacked by foreign fraudsters during the 2016 USA election looking to disrupt the online discourse and spread fake news.

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The company has said most of the blocked accounts were revoked within the first 30 days, and thus not part of the user base count. Analysts had expected a gain of 1 million users, and the results could harden concerns that Twitter lacks a clear strategy to grapple with various platform problems and grow usage and revenue together. Google parent company Alphabet, however, is having a strong week after reported earnings on Monday. Markets outside the U.S. grew 44% year on year to $344 million.

Twitter's situation echoes that of fellow social network Facebook, which has seen its stock drop 18 percent following a rough quarterly report earlier this week. "Last year's Q2 created an incredible buying opportunity in the stock".

The earnings call did not touch on a new looming issue for the company, which President Donald Trump tweeted about Thursday.

Cracking down on hate, abuse and online trolls is also hurting Twitter's standing with investors.

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Twitter deleted more than 70m fake or offensive accounts in May and June, and has continued to delete accounts at a rate of 1m a day, according to research by the Washington Post.

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