Twitter reports second straight quarterly profit

Washington (AFP) –


Twitter on Wednesday reported its second consecutive quarterly profit in a positive sign for the social network after years in the red.

The San Francisco-based social network earned $61 million in the first three months of the year, helped by strong growth in advertising revenue and modest gains in users.

First-quarter revenues rose 21 percent from a year ago to $665 million, and the key figure of monthly active users increased by six million from late last year to 336 million.

Shares in Twitter jumped nearly six percent in pre-market trading on the better-than-expected earnings.

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey said the recent changes made to the service have helped "engagement," a measure of how often people turn to the social network and how long they stay.

"We grew our audience and engagement... and continued our work to make it easier to follow topics, interests, and events on Twitter," Dorsey said in the earnings release.

"We also introduced a new framework to think more cohesively about the issues affecting our service, including information quality and safety."

The move into profitability is an important achievement for Twitter, which has lost money consistently since its public offering, sparking speculation on whether it needed to sell itself to keep operating.

While Twitter has built a solid core base of celebrities, politicians and journalists, it has failed to match the broader appeal of Facebook and other social platforms, hurting its ability to bring in ad revenues.

The network has stepped up efforts to boost its user base and engagement, adding streaming video partnerships, doubling the character limit on tweets to 280 and making it easier to create "tweetstorms" by stringing messaging together.