Twitter profit rises as Trump demands 'fairer' social media
In this Feb. 8, 2018, file photo, the logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Twitter reports financial results Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Twitter Inc. on Tuesday trumpeted strong quarterly growth in earnings and users while President Donald Trump tweeted criticism of the social media site for allegedly discriminating against him politically.
The company said net income for the first three months of the year rose on strong ad demand. Daily users rose 11% to 134 million for the first quarter of 2019, thanks to both "organic growth as well as ongoing product improvements and marketing."
The San Francisco company started disclosing its daily user base in the previous quarter. These are users who log into the site at least once a day and see advertisements on the platform. Twitter says daily metric will replace its monthly user count, which it will stop disclosing.
Shortly after the numbers were released, Trump took to Twitter to lambaste the social media company's treatment of him, accusing it of playing "political games."
"They don't treat me well as a Republican. Very discriminatory," he said, and called for "more, and fairer, companies," in an apparent reference to U.S. lawmakers' interest in regulating tech companies. Trump, without evidence, has often criticized social media sites for being biased against Republicans. Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, has denied the existence of any political bias.
The earnings report also included details of an experimental app that the company has been developing to make the social media site more "conversational."
The app's biggest change is that it lets users view an entire Twitter thread instead of having to tap through each individual post.
"People love this," said CEO Jack Dorsey, on an earnings call. "They love this more than the production Twitter app."
Twitter executives said a small group of people started trying the app out a month ago but did not reveal when it would be launched.
The company posted profit of $190.8 million, or 25 cents per share, for the first quarter. After adjusting for one-time gains and costs, earnings rose 10% to $66.4 million, or 9 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research forecast earnings of 15 cents per share.
Revenue in the period came in at $786.9 million, beating analyst forecasts of $774.9 million.
Twitter said advertising demand in the first quarter grew strongly, led by the U.S., where ad revenue rose by a quarter.
Operating expenses rose 18% to $693 million. Twitter said its work at reducing harassment on its service has been paying off and about 38% of abusive tweets that are taken down each week are detected by its algorithms before humans would report them.
For the current quarter ending in July, Twitter said it expects revenue in the range of $770 million to $830 million. Analysts surveyed by Zacks are expecting revenue of $821 million.
In midday trading, Twitter shares soared nearly 16% to $39.83.