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Twitter tumbles after user base shrinks

WASHINGTON: Twitter shares took a beating Friday as quarterly results showed a drop in users of the messaging platform, overshadowing news of a third straight quarterly profit.

Twitter said it posted a profit of $100 million in the second quarter as revenue rose 24 percent to $711 million.

But the San Franscisco-based firm said its base of monthly active users fell by one million from the past quarter to 335 million in the period amid a purge of fake accounts and a crackdown on “bots” that manipulate the platform.

Shares in Twitter slumped 16 percent in pre-opening trades in a market jittery following a weak outlook from social network leader Facebook.

Chief executive Jack Dorsey said the results reflect investments “in the long-term health” of Twitter, noting efforts to weed out violence and inappropriate behavior.

“Our second quarter results reflect the work we’re doing to ensure more people get value from Twitter every day,” Dorsey said.

“We want people to feel safe freely expressing themselves and have launched new tools to address problem behaviors that distort and distract from the public conversation.”

Twitter in recent weeks has stepped up efforts to weed out accounts that promote violence or hate speech, and some reports suggested this could lower the user base by millions.

The company has said most of the blocked accounts were revoked within the first 30 days, and thus not part of the user base count.

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