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Twitter Stock Slides on Report That It Has Been Deleting Over 1 Million Fake Accounts Daily

UPDATED: Twitter shares dropped more than 8% in early trading Monday, coming after a Washington Post story that the company has been eradicating fake accounts at a record pace — which could mean Twitter’s overall user numbers will decline for the second quarter of 2018.

Per the Washington Post report Friday, Twitter suspended more than 70 million fake accounts this past May and June, and has continued to delete more than 1 million accounts per day into July. The newspaper said it obtained the Twitter data from an unidentified individual with access to Twitter’s Firehose data and analytics system.

Twitter confirmed the rate of its recent account suspensions.

At 1:21 p.m. ET on Monday, Twitter CFO Ned Segal commented in a pair of tweets about the figures cited in the Washington Post article, writing that “most accounts we remove are not included in our reported metrics as they have not been active on the platform for 30 days or more, or we catch them at sign up and they are never counted.” He added, “If we removed 70M accounts from our reported metrics, you would hear directly from us. This article reflects us getting better at improving the health of the service.”

Twitter’s share price rebounded on Segal’s comments, but the stock was still down 5.9% as of 2 p.m. ET.

Twitter is scheduled to report Q2 results on July 27 before the market opens. The pullback on the share price comes after Twitter’s stock has nearly doubled in 2018 following the company’s reporting of two straight quarters of profits — the first in its history.

For the first quarter of 2018, Twitter reported that average monthly active users grew 3%, to 336 million, representing a net increase of 6 million sequentially and beating Wall Street forecasts. Most of that was overseas: In the U.S., Twitter had 69 million MAUs (up about 1 million from the prior quarter).

Donald Trump weighed in on the Washington Post report, snidely wondering in a July 7 tweet if Twitter’s zapping of fake accounts will include “the Failing New York Times and propaganda machine for Amazon, the Washington Post.”

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