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Twitter user growth jumps but weak sales highlight Musk challenges

The company will need to add at least 12 million users every quarter until the end of next year to achieve the ambitious 2023 goals

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Twitter user growth jumps but weak sales highlight Musk challenges
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Twitter Inc on Thursday reported revenue and ad sales that fell short of expectations and were depressed by the ongoing war in Ukraine, laying out the challenges billionaire Elon Musk will face if he takes over the social media company.

The company also reported 12 million new users in the quarter, its highest rise in users since the height of the pandemic, and the mixed news left the shares up 0.6% in late morning trade.

The report could be Twitter's last as a public company, although the stock price, which is at an 11% discount to Musk's offer price, indicates substantial doubts that Musk will go through with the deal. 

"Elon Musk is buying Twitter at a time when the company is struggling to attract new users following the pandemic-driven surge," said Haris Anwar, senior analyst at Investing.com.

To put Twitter's user growth in perspective, since the height of the pandemic, sequential quarterly increases have ranged between 1 million and 7 million, after growing by 20 million daily active users in the second quarter of 2020.

The company would need to add at least 12 million users every quarter until the end of next year to achieve the ambitious 2023 goals it set for itself, which Twitter has now disavowed because of the deal.

"We think macro issues will take (Twitter) further away from its previously-stated 2023 goals," said Angelo Zino, analyst at CFRA Research. "We believe results along with ongoing ad related industry headwinds solidify the Board's decision to approve the Musk offer, as we see little reason to believe (Twitter) could extract greater shareholder value remaining public."

Twitter has long faced criticism for its sluggish pace of product launches. Musk has tweeted suggestions ranging from releasing a widely-demanded edit button to making the Twitter algorithm open-source.

When Musk closes the deal, he will be overseeing a company that has had long-standing struggles with internal dysfunction, indecision and lack of accountability, Reuters previously reported according to eight current and

Daily active users on Twitter rose to 229 million in the first quarter ended March 31, from 199 million a year earlier. The average analyst expectation was 226.8 million.

Facebook-owner Meta Platforms also reported a return to user growth on Wednesday, which helped propel social media stocks higher.

Twitter said an internal error resulted in the company overstating quarterly user numbers by about 1.5 million between the fourth quarter of 2020 to the end of 2021. The company said it also overstated the figures in 2019, but was unable to provide data.

Given the pending acquisition, Twitter said it would not provide any forward looking guidance and was withdrawing all previous goals and outlook. The company last year announced it aimed to double annual revenue and grow to 315 million users by 2023, as former CEO Jack Dorsey aimed to signal a reset on years of product stagnation.

Total revenue in the first quarter was $1.2 billion, compared with analysts' average estimate of $1.23 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The war in Ukraine affected revenue growth, Twitter said in a press release.

The company earns the majority of its revenue from selling digital ads on the website and app. Twitter paused ads in Ukraine and Russia in February amid the ongoing invasion, which the Kremlin calls a "special military operation."

"The macro environment is becoming hostile with advertisers curbing their spending as they deal with inflation, which is running at a four-decade high," Anwar said.

Musk has said that Twitter should not serve advertising, which would allow the platform to have more control over its content policies. Advertisers generally prefer strong content moderation, to help prevent their brand from appearing next to unsuitable content.

Its net income rose to $513.3 million, or 61 cents per share, from $68 million, 8 cents per share, a year earlier.

SOURCE: REUTERS

Faisal Ali Ghumman

Mr. Ghumman is a seasoned journalist who has 19 years of diversified experience in print, electronic and digital media. He has worked with 92 News HD, Daily Pakistan Today, Daily The Business, Daily Dawn, Daily Times and Pakistan Observer as News Reporter, Feature Writer, Editor, Web Content Editor and Article Writer. Mr Ghumman has graduated from the Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan and is currently enrolled in M.Phil in Mass Communication at the University of Punjab.

Pakistan

Interior Minister responds to Imran Khan's six-day ultimatum to government 

"Police did not even fire a single rubber bullet"

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Interior Minister responds to Imran Khan's six-day ultimatum to government 

Islamabad: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Thursday responded to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's six-day ultimatum to the government to dissolve assemblies and announce elections. 

According to details, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that people have outrightly rejected PTI's march of chaos and anarchy. “Imran Niazi reneged on his promise with the Supreme Court to hold a rally at a designated place, and he broke his word by announcing to march towards D-Chowk”

In a statement, he said PTI Chairman Imran Khan, in complete violation of the Supreme Court's orders, entered Islamabad's D Chowk.

The Minister said PTI's armed protesters kept on burning and destroying public properties the whole last night.

He said police did not even fire a single rubber bullet, but eighteen police and Rangers personnel got injured in the turmoil created by PTI hooligans.

Paying rich tribute to the police and Rangers, the Interior Minister said security forces will continue protecting the lives and properties of the people.

It is pertinent to remember that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has called off his most anticipated long march, giving a six-day ultimatum to the government to dissolve assemblies and announce elections. 

While addressing the participants of the ‘Azadi March’ at Jinnah Avenue, Imran Khan said he had reached Islamabad after 30 hours of traveling from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

He warned the government that if an announcement of elections will not be made, he will return to Islamabad-- demanding assemblies be dissolved forthwith.

Khan and the top party leaders left the container soon after the speech while the party workers managed to enter the Red Zone despite heavy security.

Before the arrival of PTI Chairman Imran Khan at the designated area, the PTI MNAs and workers gathered at D-Chowk where a clash broke out between them and anti-riot police and law-enforcement agencies. 

Police baton-charged and tear-gased the protesters.

The D-Chowk turned into a battlefield between the Islamabad police and the PTI leaders and activists on early Thursday. 

PTI MNA Zartaj Gul got fainted. Many women and children got affected by tear gas shelling.  

Some officials of police and Rangers also suffered injuries in the clashes. The protesters set some trees and vehicles ablaze. 

In a statement released on Twitter, the police noted that when the fire brigade doused the blazes, the protestors once again set fire the Express Chowrangi on fire. 

Since being removed from power through a no-confidence vote in April, the cricketer-turned-politician heaped pressure on Pakistan's fragile new coalition rulers by staging mass rallies, touting a claim he was turned out from office in a "foreign conspiracy". 

In a centerpiece showdown with his rivals, Khan had called for supporters of his party to gather in Islamabad and stage a sit-in until fresh elections are called.

The government headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has pledged to stop the convoy from entering the city, calling the rally an attempt to "divide the nation and promote chaos".

All major roads surrounding Islamabad, where a heavy security presence is in place, were blocked off with shipping containers while entry and exit points of major nearby cities were also cut off.

Sporadic clashes broke out between police and protesters who have tried to clear the roads, with tear gas fired in several cities.

Khan joined the march in dramatic fashion, arriving in a helicopter that touched down on a motorway clogged with supporters outside the city of Mardan.

The convoy later crossed a bridge that straddles PTI-run Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and government-run Punjab province, where shipping containers blocking the route were pushed to the side of the road by protesters.

Earlier, soldiers were deployed at the Prime Minister's Office and the Parliament to avoid any untoward incident in the wake of PTI's long march and the presence of charged workers.

"Pakistan Army has been called in for the security of government’s offices located in the Red Zone," the notification read. 

As the situation turned chaotic after the police clashed with the PTI workers ahead of former Prime Minister Imran Khan's political rally in Islamabad, the government has sought the help of the army to control the situation. 

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World

Death toll from Iran tower block collapse rises to 18

The number of people still trapped under the rubble remains unclear.

Published by Mehak Javed

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Death toll from Iran tower block collapse rises to 18

Tehran: Iranian authorities announced Thursday that 18 people were killed in the collapse of a building under construction in southwestern Iran, in a new toll after four days of the tragedy. 

On Monday, a large part of the 10-storey "Metropol" building under construction collapsed in Abadan, one of the main cities in Iran's Khuzestan province. The building is located in the middle of one of the busiest streets in the city of 230,000 people.

The number of people still trapped under the rubble remains unclear.

The cause of the collapse, which occurred during a sandstorm, is yet to be ascertained. 

Police, however, arrested the owner of the building and the project manager of the construction company that built it.

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Pakistan

Pakistan’s progress linked with Constitution’s supremacy, rule of law: PM

He lauded Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Defence Minister Khwaja Asif for dealing with the challenge effectively.

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Pakistan’s progress linked with Constitution’s supremacy, rule of law: PM

Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said the progress of Pakistan was linked with the supremacy of the Constitution and ensuring the rule of law.

The prime minister expressed these views in an interaction with the personnel of law enforcement agencies, who were deployed in the Red Zone to ensure law and order during the long march of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

PM Sharif lauded the personnel of Rangers, Islamabad Police, and the capital’s Traffic Police for rendering their duties professionally and protecting the lives and property of the people.

The prime minister appreciated the dedication of the law enforcement personnel to performing their official duties regardless of their political affiliation.

He lauded Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Defence Minister Khwaja Asif for dealing with the challenge effectively.

The prime minister emphasized unity among all the ranks of the nation to eliminate the scourge of anarchy and chaos.

He stressed everyone to demonstrate the spirit of sacrifice and patriotism to make the homeland a citadel of peace.

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