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Twitter on Thursday disclosed a small increase in quarterly revenues, as ad sales ticked lower, weighing on hopes that a heated US political season that prominently featured the social network would have provided a bigger boost.

The California-based company said its sales edged higher by 1 per cent in the fourth quarter from the same period in the previous year to $717m. That came in shy of the consensus Wall Street forecast of $740m, and not far above the lowest estimate in a Bloomberg survey of $713m.

Advertising revenues, which are an important factor in monetising a social network, came in at $638m, down slightly from the previous year.

Meanwhile, Twitter said that average monthly active users were 319m in the fourth quarter, climbing mildly from 317m in the previous quarter, and up 4 per cent year-on-year — matching analyst expectations.

The group’s net loss swelled to $167m, from $90.2m. Adjusted quarterly earnings, which exclude certain items, of 16 cents a share exceeded forecasts of 12 cents.

Twitter’s shares declined by more than 8 per cent in pre-market trading, which would eat into the 14.9 per cent rally since the end of 2016.

The social network’s prominence has grown as Donald Trump has used Twitter as a primary tool for communicating his message, both as president and during the presidential campaign that played out last year.

However, it is not yet clear how the group will be able to take advantage of that bump.

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