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February 11, 2016updated 04 Sep 2016 10:20pm

Stalled user numbers sees Twitter share price plunge

News: Investors worry after Twitter reveals no user growth for the first time.

By Charlotte Henry

Twitter had no customer growth in the fourth quarter of 2015, the first time this has happened in the firm’s history.

The social networking giant’s latest results revealed that 320m new users signed up in the fourth quarter of 2015, the same as the quarter before, with the firm saying that it had lost 2m monthly active users, excluding users who access Twitter via messaging apps.

Q4 revenue was more positive though, up 48% to $710.50m on the back of video advertising success. The firm had a loss of $90.2m, an improvement on the $125.4m loss from this time last year. For the full year ending December 31st, revenue was $2.22bn, with net loss of $521m.

Positive comments from CEO Jack Dorsey on a conference call went some way to reassuring investors who are heavily focussed on user growth. "We think there’s a lot of opportunity in our product to fix some broken windows and some confusing aspects of our service that we know are inhibiting growth," he is reported as saying.

Twitter’s share price recovered from an 11% fall to a 3% drop following Dorsey’s comments, although the stock still ended the day’s trading at $14.98, over $10 below its IPO press of $26 a share. The shares are down 45% since Dorsey replaced Dick Costolo at the top of the firm.

In a letter to shareholders Dorsey wrote that the firm "made significant progress in scaling the total number of active advertisers to 130,000 in Q4, up almost 90% year over year."

Acknowledging the instability that has plagued the top of the firm, he wrote: "We spent the last six months structuring the organization and our leadership team to move with greater agility and focus, reviewing the state of our service and strategy, learning from what we’ve shipped, and developing a stronger point of view about what we are and what we want to be. In January we gathered our global leadership team to align and commit to a strategy for 2016."

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He said that the firm has "five priorities for 2016." These are "refinement of our core service; live streaming video; our creators and influencers; safety; and developers."

Twitter has also announced a new feature on its timeline that it says will mean users "never miss important Tweet from people you follow. In the coming weeks, users will be able to turn on a ‘show me the best Tweets first’ feature.

Mike Jahr, a Senior Engineering Manager at the firm, wrote in a blog: "When you open Twitter after being away for a while, the Tweets you’re most likely to care about will appear at the top of your timeline – still recent and in reverse chronological order. The rest of the Tweets will be displayed right underneath, also in reverse chronological order, as always."

Speculation about the move has been rife on Twitter for a number days, with users marking messages displaying their displeasure with the rumoured moves with the hashtag #RIPTwitter.

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