twitter death
Twitter shares plummet after user numbers stall Reuters

Shares in social media giant, Twitter plummeted by more than 11% in after-hours trading on 10 February after it reported a dip in user numbers in the fourth quarter. Twitter has had a catastrophic past three months, which has seen the company's value halved.

According to the social media platform, the number of total monthly active users (MAUs) were 320 million for the quarter, lower than expected. The figures remained stagnant when compared to the previous quarter – this was the first flat quarter since 2013.

But when excluding certain users that access tweets via text messages, the number of Twitter users dropped in the fourth-quarter to 305 million – down two million. To compound the disappointing figures, the micro-blogging site said that they expected to make between $595m and $610m (£410m to £420m) in the first quarter of 2016 – well below Wall Street forecasts.

The app has been making changes to the way it works in a desperate attempt to close the gap on market leaders Facebook. As the figures were announced, Twitter said that they are intending to change the way they work by showing the best algorithimically-selected tweets at the top of users' timelines instead of in reverse chronological order.

The company announced: "We saw a decline in monthly active usage in Q4, but we've already seen January monthly actives bounce back to Q3 levels. We're confident that, with disciplined execution, this growth trend will continue over time."

After the figures were released, shares plunged by as much as 14% before recovering the losses to leave the price flat. But for the whole of 2015, revenues were up 58% to $2.2bn.

The weak user numbers are likely to stoke investor concerns over stalled growth. Brian Blau, research director at Gartner, said to Sky News: "With no increase in new users, but otherwise good financial performance, Twitter hasn't yet shown how it can rise from the troubling spot of not being able to grow the business."