For the first time ever, Twitter has finally turned a profit

Happy day.
Happy day.
Image: AP Photo/Richard Drew
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It only took 12 years, but Twitter has finally turned a quarterly profit.

The social network reported its fourth-quarter earnings today, Feb. 8, and as expected, the company posted a modest profit, pulling in $91 million on $732 million in revenue. That’s a jump of 2% on the revenue it posted in the same period last year. It attributed the small rise to increased advertising revenue, stemming from the myriad updates it made to its product over the last year, as well as video ad sales. (Annual revenue for the company was slightly down in 2017, however—it generated $2.4 billion, versus $2.5 billion in 2016.)

It’s been tumultuous ride for Twitter as a public company. On top of middling revenues, it faces the giant that is Facebook, which has dwarfed its advertising revenue and user base as long as Twitter has been public. Twitter had 218 million monthly users when it went public, while Facebook had 845 million when it did in 2012. (Twitter now has 330 million and Facebook has 2.13 billion.)

Twitter has also struggled to attract many new users in recent years, and has reportedly contended with multiple stalled takeover bids, and several departures of high-ranking executives, including its longtime chief financial officer Anthony Noto last month.

Perhaps the tides are shifting for the microblogging site. Even before today’s report, the company’s stock price had been rising. It’s up about 44% on the year to $27 a share, rising above its IPO price for the first time since late 2015. In pre-market trading, the company’s stock jumped to over $32 a share on the profit news.

Twitter’s user base has stayed effectively the same size as it was last quarter, and annual revenue might be down slightly, but this might not matter too much to investors. The company may have finally achieved a size and structure that will allow it to operate without losing money.

It may not grow into an advertising behemoth like Facebook, but at least it’s no longer sinking. And if it can keep turning a modest profit, that’s something—except for lingering problems of abuse and hatred on the platform, and the rampant bot problem that may or may not have affected the 2016 US election and the UK Brexit vote. Nothing major, then.