In a first, Twitter tells brands how many users it has

The company discloses a new stat in its earnings report: 126 million

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Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter Inc.
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter Inc. Credit: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Twitter revealed its number of daily users for the first time on Thursday, disclosing that there are 126 million people on the service.

After years of withholding the figure, choosing instead to just share its monthly userbase, Twitter reported what it called "monetizable" daily active users in its fourth-quarter earnings report. The number of daily users grew 9 percent year over year to 126 million in the fourth quarter, Twitter said.

Twitter claimed the number is not comparable to rival services that also report daily users. (For instance, Snapchat reported 186 million daily users in its quarterly report earlier this week; Facebook said it has 1.5 billion daily users.)

"Our [monetizable daily active users] are not comparable to current disclosures from other companies, many of whom share a more expansive metric that includes people who are not seeing ads," Twitter said in a letter to investors.

On Thursday, Twitter also reported $791 million in ad revenue in the fourth quarter of last year, an increase of 23 percent year over year. Meanwhile, for the full year, Twitter generated $2.6 billion in 2018, up from $2.1 billion in 2017.

Despite the growth in 2018, investors are concerned with Twitter's forecast for the first quarter; the company predicted ad revenue fall to between $715 million and $775 million. Shares in Twitter were down before trading started for the day.

Facebook reported $16.6 billion in ad sales in the fourth quarter last year and Snapchat $390 million.

Twitter, like Facebook, has been trying to stamp out abusive behavior and bad actors who use the platform. One of the company's main goals has been to clean up the conversation and deter harassment, which has been considered a drag on the service's ability to grow users.

In fact, as Twitter hunts down violators and eliminates fraudulent accounts, its monthly active user stats are shrinking, and the company plans to stop reporting that figure. In the fourth quarter, the number of monthly of active users was down year over year by 9 million people to 321 million people.

Twitter is making more money from its users, though, and it reported a jump in profits by 180 percent year over year to $255 million in the fourth quarter.

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