Twitter’s audience is growing again as it works to combat abuse

Twitter’s audience is growing again and engaging with the service more frequently as the company works to combat abuse on the platform.

Twitter said Tuesday that it had 330 million monthly active users in the first three months of 2019, an increase of 9 million from the quarter prior, which breaks its streak of three consecutive quarters of user declines.

In the United States, Twitter added two million monthly users during the quarter. The social network is still below the 336 million users it had worldwide a year ago.

At the same time, people are engaging more with Twitter. The company said 134 million daily active users were able to view ads and promoted tweets on the service in the first quarter, an increase of 11% from the same period a year ago.

Twitter said in February that it planned to focus on this daily user number as it looks to build a service that people want to use every day. The monthly active user metric, long a focus of investors who track Twitter, will no longer be included with its earnings reports after this quarter.

More engaged eyeballs may mean more ad dollars. Twitter posted revenue of $787 million for the quarter, up 18% from the same period a year ago and more than Wall Street had expected. The company credited this growth in part to traction for video ad formats.

The stronger-than-expected sales performance also helped boost Twitter’s profit. The company made $191 million during the quarter, up from $61 million a year ago.

Twitter’s stock was up 7% in pre-market trading Tuesday following the earnings results.

Combating abuse

The renewed growth in users comes as Twitter invests more heavily in trying to combat abuse on the platform after years of criticism.

On a conference call with analysts Tuesday, CEO Jack Dorsey said improving the health of the platform continues to be “our number one priority as a company.” Right now, Dorsey said, Twitter is focusing on taking a more “proactive” approach to cracking down on abuse, by relying on machine learning and deep learning.

Earlier this month, the company said that “38% of abusive content that’s enforced” is now flagged proactively without relying on users reporting it. A year ago, none of it was flagged proactively.

Dorsey also highlighted ongoing product initiatives to make Twitter more “relevant” to users by surfacing events and interests as easily as it surfaces user accounts to follow.

Twitter also recently introduced a prototype app called Twttr, where it’s testing new features to “read, understand, and join conversations” on the platform. Dorsey said this app allows Twitter to move faster in testing ideas with the goal of making Twitter “more conversational.”

“Twitter appears to be more actively evolving the user experience,” John Egbert, an analyst with Stifel, wrote in an investor note on Monday.

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