As Twitter has been battered with criticism from President Donald Trump and Republicans for its content moderation practices, it still reported higher-than-expected revenue Thursday.
The company’s total revenue grew to $936 million in the third quarter, with ad revenue growing 15% to $808 million.
But that was mitigated somewhat by the company’s report of new users: 1 million. That was well short of the 20 million that it added in the second quarter, and Twitter’s stock was down nearly 15% in after-hours trading. In a call with analysts, Twitter executives suggested that the growth in the second quarter was driven by the early part of the coronavirus pandemic, with a spike in engagement levels.
Twitter’s net income was $29 million, from $37 million in the same period a year earlier. The estimates for earnings per share had been 6 cents, but ended up being 19 cents, according to CNBC.
The company said that average monetizable daily active usage was 187 million, an increase of 29% from a year earlier, which was “primarily driven by global conversation around current events and ongoing product improvements.” But the mDAU figure was 186 million in the second quarter.
Twitter had some works of caution in its outlook for the next quarter, saying that “it is hard to predict how advertiser behavior could change. In Q2, many brands slowed or paused spend in reaction to US civil unrest, only to increase spend relatively quickly thereafter in an effort to catch up.
“The period surrounding the US election is somewhat uncertain, but we have no reason to believe that September’s revenue trends can’t continue, or even improve, outside of the election related window.”
CEO Jack Dorsey testified before a Senate committee on Wednesday over Twitter’s content moderation practices, as Republicans accused the platform of being biased against conservative voices. Dorsey and other Twitter executives have denied those claims, but have said that they have a policy to try to curb misinformation about the COVID-19 epidemic and election integrity.
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