Twitter added only 4 million new users last quarter

Will it ever get better?
Will it ever get better?
Image: AP Photo/Noah Berger
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It’s another miss for Twitter.

Reporting its third quarter earnings today (Oct. 27), the social network revealed that it added only 4 million more users to a total of 320 million monthly active users, continuing to disappoint investors who are hoping for swift change under new CEO Jack Dorsey.

Twitter’s stock is down more than 10% in after-hours trading. Shares have been punished especially hard this year as the company struggles to grow its user base and revenue. In the third quarter, Twitter reported a loss of $132 million, or 20 cents per share, on $569 million in revenue, falling short of analysts’ expectations.

Twitter has been trying to shine a more positive light on its lackluster user growth. In April, the company told investors it would change the way it counted monthly active users, including what it calls “SMS Fast Followers,” or people who sign up for and access the service entirely using text messages. Excluding these users, Twitter added only 3 million new users in the third quarter—a slight increase from 2 million the quarter before.

Growth has been largely flat in the US, where Twitter had 66 million users, not including SMS Fast Followers, in the third quarter, up 1 million from the quarter prior. The company’s been hoping SMS users—a large percentage of whom live in developing countries and own feature phones—would make up for this slowdown. But analysts have been skeptical about how much money Twitter can actually make off such users, since they don’t see the same ads as people who use Twitter’s apps.

There are also indications that users are spending less time on Twitter. According to Morgan Stanley, users spent 33% less time on the site in the second quarter compared with a year ago.