Twitter’s chief financial officer on Monday tried to quell investor concerns that user numbers could drop as the messaging site accelerates its push to delete fake accounts.

Ned Segal attempted to rebut a report in the Washington Post on Friday which claimed that Twitter’s mass removal of fake accounts was putting user growth at risk. The company’s shares dropped almost 9 per cent on Monday morning, before staging a partial recovery.

Mr Segal tweeted that most deleted accounts had not been previously included in its reported metrics, either because they had not been active for more than a month or been identified as problematic when opened.

“If we removed 70m accounts from our reported metrics, you would hear directly from us,” he said. “This article reflects us getting better at improving the health of the service. Look forward to talking more on our earnings call July 27!”

Twitter shares regained some of their losses after Mr Segal’s statement, closing down 5.4 per cent at $44.14 on Monday.

He had previously said that some of Twitter’s actions could hit the closely watched monthly active user number. During a first-quarter earnings call in April, he said: “The broader health initiatives . . . removing spamming and suspicious accounts from Twitter continues to be something that will impact MAU (monthly active users) . . . We’re always going to do the right thing to make sure that the service is great for those that should be on it and that’s going to be removing spamming and suspicious accounts whenever we can.”

Twitter, like Facebook, is trying to stop the spread of spam and disinformation ruining users’ experience. But unlike Facebook, Twitter has historically suffered from sluggish user growth.

The Washington Post report said that Twitter had deleted as many as 1m accounts a day in recent months, adding up to 70m being wiped away in May and June, with the pace showing no sign of slackening so far in July.

Last month, Twitter highlighted the faster pace at which it is removing accounts for violating its spam policy, after it became one of several social media platforms thrust into the centre of debates over how Russian actors may have manipulated the 2016 US election.

In a June 26 blog post, Twitter said it was taking a more proactive approach to fighting spam and malicious automation, resulting in 9.9m suspicious accounts being identified and challenged a week in May, up from 6.4m. Overall, it said it had seen a 214 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of accounts removed for violating spam policies.

How much impact, if any, the ramped-up efforts will have on user numbers will be closely watched when Twitter releases its second-quarter earnings before the market opens on July 27. Despite Monday’s drop, Twitter shares are up 83.8 per cent year to date.

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