Twitter results show efforts to combat hate speech have “started paying dividends”

By Ellen Daniel

Twitter has published its quarterly earnings for Q4 of 2019, beating expectations.

In a letter to shareholders, it reported revenue of $1.1bn, up 11% and more than the $997.6bn expected. This is the first time the company has achieved revenue higher than one billion.

The company saw its stocks rise by over 16% following the Twitter results announcement.

It is the fastest quarterly growth of monetisable daily active users in the micro-blogging site’s history, reaching 152m. Twitter attributed this to “initiatives to drive growth and better serve the public conversation”, as well as strong advertising sales.

The company reported a 27% decline in bystander reports of Tweets that violate its terms of service due to increased “efforts to protect the integrity of election-related conversations and proactively limit the visibility of unhealthy content”.

At the end of 2019, Twitter announced it was banning all political advertising on its platform, and earlier this week announced a partial ban on fake videos and photos.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO of Socialbakers, a social media marketing company, believes that Twitter’s results reflect its efforts to tackle both hate speech and the spread of fake news on the platform.

“Twitter’s Q4 results show that their noble efforts to stop hate speech and tackle digital pollution have started paying dividends,” he said. “The platforms improved overall health, coupled with its investment in new, engaging ad formats and easy-to-search Topics have helped it not only grow revenue, but also expand its monetisable user base by 21% year on year.

“2020 has the potential to be a good year for Twitter. It’s still the platform on which real-time news updates are shared first. With its focus on event-driven live and on-demand video, Twitter remains a powerful platform for media publishers overall. Despite not being able to capitalise on political ad spend, Twitter is where the conversation happens around politics and world events. With the US presidential elections and the Olympic Games coming up in 2020, Twitter is well-positioned to build on its user growth and engagement this year.”

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