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Twitter grew its monetizable daily user base by 5 million in the three-month period that marked the bitter final days of the Donald Trump presidency.
The social media network, which would permanently suspend superuser Trump from its platform on Jan. 8, said that the fourth quarter was a “strong finish” to the year, as current events like the U.S. Presidential Election helped drive its audience up 27 percent to 192 million logged-in users, known as monetizable daily active users. Revenue was up 28 percent to $1.29 billion.
The company attributed some of its growth to “ongoing product improvements” and made note of specific efforts to reduce abuse and combat misinformation during the election. That included the addition of labels, warnings and restrictions on tweets containing potential misleading information from Oct. 27 through Nov. 11. “These efforts were highly effective at providing additional context around potentially misleading information and we will continue to apply labels to add context int he future and to limit the risk of harmful misinformation spreading without important context,” the company said in its fourth quarter shareholder letter.
Twitter also acknowledged that some product changes — including encouraging quote tweets — were not effective at providing additional context about misinformation. It said that requiring context before showing a trend in the “for you” section did result in “significant reduction in reports” but also made those personalized trends less relevant for many people. In the future, Twitter will prioritize reviewing and adding context to trends but will not make it a requirement of having those trends appear in the “for you” section.
“Our product changes to date are promoting healthier conversations for those who use our service, including advertisers and partners, and we are excited about our plans to continue innovating in 2021,” CEO Jack Dorsey said in a statement.
More insight into how Twitter’s suspension of Trump, who had 88 million followers, will impact its business won’t be known until the company reports first quarter earnings later this year. Twitter chose to remove Trump from its platform over “risk of further incitement of violence” two days after his supports stormed the U.S. Capitol building.
On a call with investors on Tuesday afternoon, Dorsey noted that the platform is “not dependent on just news and politics” to drive conversation. He referenced efforts to expand its topics feature, which highlights what people are talking about on Twitter, as a way to continue to diversify the types of content that people post about on the platform.
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