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Twitter turns a profit in the first quarter, makes progress fighting spam

Image used with permission by copyright holder

There was a time when it seemed Twitter was knocking at death’s door, but that time seems to be past. On Wednesday, April 25, the social media giant shared its first-quarter earnings report, and not only have user numbers seen an increase, but the company is profitable, and its fight against bots and spams appears to be working.

In the last quarter, Twitter managed to add six million new monthly users, impressive considering that in recent times, it has had trouble adding more than three million people a month, and in some cases, even lost users. But in the last three  months, Twitter seems to have found its second wind, — and mostly overseas. Of the six million new monthly Tweeters, only about a million of them come from the U.S. But because of some changes to the Twitter platform — the new cap of 280 characters and the continued efforts in combating fake accounts — it seems as though the company is having greater success in keeping people on and active within the platform.

Twitter has remained relatively tightlipped when it comes to exactly how it has been fighting spam and duplicitous accounts, though it did reveal in a note to shareholders that it has tweaked its API, leading to fewer bots. In fact, during the first three months of 2018, the social media giant removed 142,000 apps that were found to violate developer rules, and were linked to 130 million “low-quality” tweets in the first quarter alone.

We should point out that Twitter’s changes to its API and TweetDeck — the most common sources of spam — only came into play on March 23, and the earnings report’s timeline ends on March 30. That means that these numbers actually only account for one week of updated activity. This should be great news for Twitter — if the effect was so great over a seven-day period, then over a longer stretch of time, it may well see even better results.

Twitter also said that it expects toremain profitable throughout the rest of the year. This is notable given that it has suffered four consecutive years of losses since it went public. In fact, last quarter was the first time the social media company ever made money. And while this is all good news, Twitter is quick to admit that it still has work to do.

In efforts to ensure that it stays on the straight and narrow, Twitter is looking to crowdsource suggestions for how to better its trustworthiness and safety, as well as cut down on abuse and harassment. Thus far, it has received 230 responses from “global institutions.” The company noted, “We expect to have meaningful updates in the second quarter, and we’re committed to continuing to share our progress along the way.”

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
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