Washington”•Twitter showed strong gains in its user base with more people turning to the short-message social network during the pandemic and civil unrest, according to a quarterly update Thursday that offered positive signs despite a big drop in ad revenues.
The short-message social network reported a net loss of $1.2 billion in the quarter, most of that coming from setting aside funds for income taxes.
Revenue slumped 19 percent from a year ago to $683 million. Despite some modest rebound from the pandemic-induced economic slump, Twitter said that “many brands slowed or paused spend in reaction to US civil unrest” in May and June.
Twitter said ad revenue declined 15 percent over the last three weeks of June, but appeared to have rebounded since then.
A key metric for Twitter, the number of “monetizable” daily active users, hit 186 million in the second quarter for a jump of 34 percent from last year.
Chief executive Jack Dorsey said the user gains showed “the highest quarterly year-over-year growth rate we’ve delivered” using this measure.
“People continue to come to Twitter to learn about and participate in conversations focused on systemic racism, Black Lives Matters, COVID-19 and the reopening and re-closing of economies all around the world,” Dorsey told analysts on a conference call.
Twitter shares rallied to gain four percent on Wall Street following the results.
The earnings report comes a week after Twitter suffered a hack that affected high-profile accounts and raised fears about security of the service which has become a key element of political conversation.
Dorsey apologized for the incident and added that Twitter “moved quickly to address what happened,” and had taken additional steps “to improve resiliency.”
Twitter acknowledged late Wednesday that in 36 of the 130 accounts that were compromised, hackers were able to access direct messages intended to be private, adding to the severity of the incident.
Those affected included one unidentified elected official in the Netherlands.
“We are actively working on communicating directly with the account-holders that were impacted,” Twitter said on its security blog.
The bitcoin-scam hack affected high-profile users including Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama and others.
Dorsey said of the incident: “We understand our responsibilities and are committed to earning the trust of all of our stakeholders with our every action, including how we address this security issue.”
Twitter, an important tool used by President Donald Trump, is seen by some analysts as an important element in news and political discussion, a key to its growth.