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Twitter woes deepen as loss widens, user growth sputters

By AFP 9 February 2017

Twitter came under fresh pressure Thursday as the social network reported sluggish revenue and user growth, and widening losses in the past quarter.

Pre-market trades showed Twitter shares slumping 9.2 percent as hopes faded for a rekindling of growth at the messaging platform, which has lagged its rivals in the fast-moving segment of social media.

Twitter reported a net loss in the fourth quarter of $167 million, after a $90 million deficit in the same period a year ago.

Revenue in the quarter rose a modest one percent to $717 million.

In the critical area of user growth, Twitter said it ended 2016 with 319 million monthly active users, a gain of four percent from a year ago in the closely watched metric and only two million more than the prior quarter.

Twitter, which has never reported a profit, has been revamping its offerings as it seeks to expand beyond its core base of politicians, celebrities and journalists.

Some analysts had expected a bump in Twitter use following the election of US President Donald Trump, who is an avid user of the platform and frequently offers his views on policy.

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey said however that “2016 was a transformative year as we reset and focused on why people use Twitter: it’s the fastest way to see what’s happening and what everyone’s talking about.”

Dorsey added that Twitter “overcame the toughest challenge for any consumer service at scale by reversing declining audience trends and re-accelerating usage.”

He said that “daily active usage accelerated for the third consecutive quarter, and we see this strong growth continuing.”

Twitter said it continues to work toward achieving profitability in 2017. DM

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