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Photo: Richard Drew / AP

Twitter stock was up over 10% in pre-market trading Thursday after the company announced that it beat revenue and growth expectations. But the success is being overshadowed by the fact that the company admitted to inflating user growth over by approximately 1-2 million users per quarter for four quarters. The company said in a letter to shareholders that the miscalculation occurred from including "certain third-party applications" that should not have been counted in Twitter's monthly active users number.

Why it matters: Twitter has faced criticism in the past for inflating video metrics and for its "inadequate" response (Sen. Mark Warner's words) to the Senate Intelligence Community's inquiry into Russia involvement on its platform. At a time when technology platforms are under increased scrutiny for not being transparent enough, this type of admission only plays into the narrative that tech companies are not properly policing themselves.

Other key figures.

  • Revenue: Twitter surpassed revenue expectations for Q3, reporting a 4.2% decline in revenue to $590 million, which is slightly better than the losses that were expected.
  • Users: It increased its Daily Active User (DAU) base 14% year-over-year in Q3 and 4 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) in Q3, bringing its total monthly active user count to 330 million.
  • Losses: Twitter reported a loss of $21.1 million, the smallest loss that Twitter has posted since going public.
  • Profit: Twitter raised its earnings forecast for the fourth quarter next year and said if it hits the high end of that number, it could achieve its first-ever profitable quarter since going public — a huge feat for the company facing pressure to compete for advertising revenue against its main competitors, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
  • Market growth: Twitter said the majority of its growth came from its top 10 global markets, including the U.S., which have a greater potential to generate advertising revenue.

Clarification: This post has been updated to reflect that the inaccurate MAU numbers were counted over four quarters, not 11.

Go deeper

9 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

11 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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