Twitter admits to overstating users for years

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Twitter on Thursday reported earnings and revenue for the third quarter that beat Wall Street's expectations, a sign that the tech firm's financial health might be improving.

In the third quarter, Twitter said it added 4 million monthly users, offsetting the 1-2 million it said the mistake would cost.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 6 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The company could, at least, be pleased that its data licensing division saw revenue increase to $87 million, an year-on-year increase of 22 percent. But on Thursday, the company said that the number of monthly active users reached 330 million in the third quarter, an uptick of 4 percent compared to the same period previous year.

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In the United States, where growth had stalled earlier this year, the number of users rose to 69 million from 68 million, the company said. Check back for updates. Twitter now has 330 million users globally.

Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said in a statement that the business was making progress growing its audience and returning to revenue growth. "We're proud that the improvements we're making to the product continue to bring people back to Twitter on a daily basis". One factor was stock-based compensation, which declined 36 percent year-over-year, but Twitter said the cuts were broad-based, covering sales and marketing and research and development.

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) early Thursday posted market-beating earnings results and noted that its daily active user growth continued to accelerate, sending its shares soaring in premarket trading.

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The social media giant is also testing doubling its character limit from 140 characters to 280 characters, a move meant to explore whether people are able to better express themselves on the platform when they aren't limited by space.

In recent weeks, the company said, it had become aware that it had been including users of a service for third-party apps, which should not have been part of its own user counts.

In addition, Twitter's guidance for next quarter suggested if they hit the high end of its adjusted EBITDA estimates of between $220 million to $240 million estimates it could be GAAP profitable.

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However, the snafu was overshadowed by what proved to be a strong quarter for the social network.

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