Twitter admitted on Thursday to vastly inflating the number of monthly users the company has received over the past three years.
The Wall Street Journal reports that a Twitter spokeswoman reportedly admitted that the company had been including users of a service for third-party apps as monthly users when they should not have been counted. The company revised their recent user count for the past three quarters by 1 million to 2 million but stated that they do not possess user data further back than that.
In their third quarter, Twitter added approximately 4 million monthly users, surpassing analyst expectations by approximately one million. Twitter’s current user base sits at approximately 330 million. Based on recent information, however, Twitter’s user base actually shrank in the second quarter by one million users for the first time since 2015. Twitter previously believed that their user base had stayed flat during the second quarter.
Twitter claims that the error in counting their monthly active users did not affect the count of their daily users, which they have reported as growing by 14 percent. The third-party app that led to the monthly user miscalculation, Digits, allowed Twitter users to log into other online services using their Twitter credentials. Twitter believes that the impact of Digits’ userbase on their monthly active user counts in previous years was smaller, as Digit had fewer users at the time.