Apr 28, 2022 - Technology

Twitter admits it overstated users for years ahead of Elon Musk takeover

Photo illustration: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter on Thursday reported mixed first-quarter earnings, missing Wall Street expectations on revenue but adding users. It also admitted to over-counting some monetizable daily active users between Q1 2019 and Q4 2021.

Why it matters: Analysts were expecting the tech giant to post weak results, given that its board finalized a takeover deal with Elon Musk this week. This could be Twitter's last earnings report as a publicly traded company.

Details: The company brought in $1.2 billion in revenue last quarter, just shy of analyst estimates. Other ad-supported tech giants also missed Q1 revenue expectations in response to macroeconomic headwinds impacting the ad market.

  • Twitter also said it accidentally over-counted the number of monetizable daily active users because of a feature that allowed people to link multiple separate accounts together in order to conveniently switch between them. It counted those two separate accounts as two users for more than three years.

Flashback: This isn't the first time Twitter has admitted to over-counting its user base. In 2017, the company said it overstated its user base numbers for the previous three years.

By the numbers, per CNBC:

  • Earnings per share: 61 cents, not comparable to estimates
  • Revenue: $1.2 billion vs $1.23 billion expected, according to Refinitiv
  • Monetizable Daily Active Users (mDAUs): 229 million vs 226.9 million expected, according to StreetAccount

What's next: Twitter didn't offer forward-looking guidance due to the pending deal.

Go deeper