SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter continues to stabilize as a business.
The social media company on Thursday reported a 24 percent jump in fourth-quarter revenue from a year earlier, to $909 million, while its net income more than doubled to $255 million. After losing money for years, Twitter has now posted five straight quarters of profits, even though its revenue growth has slowed.
The financial performance was marred by a drop in Twitter users for a third consecutive quarter. The company said it had 321 million users in the fourth quarter, down from 326 million in the previous quarter.
Still, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, said the results indicated that his company was finding its financial footing — especially since it was the first full year that Twitter had turned a profit.
“2018 is proof that our long-term strategy is working,” he said in a statement.
Twitter, President Trump’s favorite social media service, has been grappling with challenges for some time, such as harassment and bullying on its platform. More recently, it has also had to deal with disinformation, foreign interference and accusations of political bias. Mr. Dorsey denied that Twitter was biased when he testified before Congress late last year.
On Thursday, Mr. Dorsey said he was “focused on making Twitter a healthier and more conversational service.” Twitter has increasingly relied on artificial intelligence to detect abuse, allowing it to remove offending messages more quickly. It has also improved account security, making it more difficult for spammers to open accounts.
Much of Twitter’s growth in the fourth quarter occurred in Japan, which accounted for 15 percent of the company’s total revenue. The United States remained Twitter’s biggest market, bringing in 56 percent of revenue.
Twitter has said its decline in users is related to its efforts to stamp out fake accounts. The company said that the number of reports from individuals who had an abusive interaction on Twitter during 2018 had declined by 16 percent, and that its rules had been updated to make clear what kind of conduct the company considered unacceptable.
The decrease in users has prompted concerns about whether Twitter really has room to grow. As a point of contrast, Facebook and its apps, which include Instagram and WhatsApp, continue to gain users. Facebook said last week that 2.7 billion people now used its core social network and its other apps.
“Maybe this is as good as it gets,” Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said of Twitter.
Orignially published in NYT.