Twitter stock jumps 8 percent after earnings report shows increase in users, revenue

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the company is “taking a more proactive approach” to abuse on its platform.
Image: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey addresses students during a town hall at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey addresses students during a town hall at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi, on Nov. 12, 2018.Anushree Fadnavis / Reuters file

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/ Source: CNBC.com
By Lauren Feiner, CNBC

Twitter stock jumped about 8 percent Tuesday morning after the company released earnings for its first quarter of 2019.

Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey said the company is “taking a more proactive approach” to abuse on its platform by "reducing the burden on victims and, where possible, taking action before abuse is reported,” according to a statement released by the company.

Twitter now removes 2.5 times more tweets sharing personal information and about 38 percent of abuse tweets taken down each week are detected by machine learning models, he said.

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This quarter will be the last for which Twitter will report Monthly Active Users (MAUs), the company announced during its last earnings report. As a replacement, Twitter began to report what it calls monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) last quarter, which it said would better reflect its audience. This metric includes “Twitter users who log in and access Twitter on any given day through Twitter.com or our Twitter applications that are able to show ads,” according to the company.

Twitter reported 134 million average mDAUs for the first quarter, compared to 120 million in the same period last year. In Q4 2018, Twitter said it had 126 million mDAUs.

In the U.S., Twitter reported 28 million average mDAUs for Q1, compared to 26 million the same period last year. Twitter reported 105 million average international mDAUs for the first quarter, compared to 94 million in the same period last year.

The shift to a new metric came after Twitter reported MAUs that fell short of analyst estimates for two straight quarters during its fiscal year 2018. Twitter previously blamed the shortfall in part on a July purge of “locked” accounts that was meant to get rid of bots and fake users, among other factors.

Twitter forecast Q2 revenue between $770 million to $830 million, compared to analyst estimates of $783.9 million to $853.6 million, according to Refinitiv. The company reiterated its announcement from last quarter that it expects cash operating expenses to increase about 20 percent year over year in 2019 as it continues to invest in “health, conversation, revenue product and sales, and platform.”

Twitter’s stock slid on its last earnings report when it provided light guidance for Q1, but it’s still up about 10 percent over the past 12 months. Twitter has been toying with the best way to optimize the experience on the platform for user well-being rather than purely based on engagement metrics.

Dorsey told Rolling Stone in an interview published in January that his team has considered “what happens if we remove the ‘like’ counts from tweets.”

Twitter rolled out a public beta test through a separate app last month where it has tested new features, including hiding some replies by default to de-clutter conversations and hiding engagement options until a user taps on a tweet, TechCrunch reported.