Yesterday Twitter revealed that it has lost approximately 9 million monthly users in its latest quarterly report.
In most cases, such a drop would be considered a huge red flag. However, the company was not only anticipating the decrease in users but sees it as a sign that the platform is improving.
Since its earliest days, Twitter has been notorious for spam and bot accounts. The huge number of inactive, fake, or malicious accounts has been so bad that Twitter users have even created nicknames for these types of accounts. The most popular sobriquet is simply calling these accounts “eggs” for the original default profile picture on Twitter.
Notably, the company removed the egg profile picture in an attempt to shake off the nickname, though the term still lingers to describe accounts that are inactive, suspicious, or spammy.
Earlier this year, Twitter launched a new initiative aimed at removing these types of bad accounts and preventing the creation of new accounts for spammy or suspicious accounts.
Based on the news that Twitter’s active monthly account number has fallen from 335 million to 326 million in the third quarter of this year, it appears the company is making significant headway in reducing the number of low-quality accounts.
As part of the initiative, Twitter says it expects to continue seeing decreases in monthly active users through the next quarter. CEO Jack Dorsey describes the move as a positive act to improve the long-term health of Twitter.
Dorsey’s perspective may not be far off, as the company has seen consistent gains in daily users and revenue. The company reported a 9% increase in daily active users year over year. Revenue is also high enough for the company to turn a profit the past quarter, marking the first full-year period the company has seen profitability.
Twitter still has significant hurdles to overcome to prevent stagnation or loss of inertia. While these types of steps are likely to increase users’ overall satisfaction with the platform, there are still widespread issues of abuse, spam, and manipulation of the like and retweet functions on the site. If Twitter really hopes to continue to grow in sustainable ways, it will eventually have to confront these complicated issues and make some hard decisions about the direction it wants to grow.