Twitter's monthly user numbers continued to fall, for the third consecutive quarter, to 321m

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We may not know how many iPhones Apple is selling any more, but at least we have a handle now on Twitter's numbers.

The social network revealed its daily active users (DAUs) for the first time in its fourth-quarter earnings report today, giving us a better idea of how engaged Twitterers are compared to monthly figures. There are 126m DAUs, it said.

But as the chart below from a letter to shareholders reveals, DAU growth is slowing, a fact that helped send Twitter shares down more than 10 per cent when the New York market opened.


And as Axios points out, 126m is 60m fewer than Snapchat, and less than a tenth of Facebook's flagship app.

On the bright side, revenues rose 26 per cent to $909m in the fourth quarter, excluding currency effects, and $255m in net income beat Wall Street’s expectations and brought to a close the company’s first full-year of profitability.

Then again, investors were upset that operating expenses are set to rise 20 per cent in 2019 as the company focuses on “making Twitter a healthier and more conversational service”, according to chief executive Jack Dorsey.

What does that mean? Well, improving the house that Jack built by spending money rooting out fake news and making the service safer for users, improving its ads platform and ad formats, growing its sales teams and investing in data centres.

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Wirecard accounting scandal
Today's Big Read has the inside story of an accounting scandal that has rocked Wirecard, one of Europe’s few tech success stories. The investigation shows how a preliminary report by a top law firm unveiled a pattern of suspected book-padding across the group’s Asian operations. Wirecard has said investigations to date have made no conclusive findings of criminal misconduct and it would be wrong to draw conclusions.

Germany says no Facebook follows of data trail
German antitrust authorities have ruled that Facebook must get users' permission to pool WhatsApp, Instagram and other third-party data with that contained in Facebook accounts. The FT View is that Facebook should be more transparent about what it does with user data. Google and Amazon also face European regulatory challenges in the next few days.

Amazon gets creative with Indian problem
Amazon products are returning to its Indian website after the company scrambled to restructure its companies to comply with new ecommerce regulations that took effect last week. Separately, Amazon is joining the race to put self-driving cars on the road, with an investment in a new $530m funding round for Silicon Valley start-up Aurora.

US broadband giants can charge more, but invest less, after net neutrality nixed
The big four US broadband companies invested less in capital projects last year than they did in 2017, undermining one of the rationales for a controversial decision by the Trump administration to remove so-called net neutrality protections.

broadband investment


The media will eat itself
Former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson has been accused of plagiarism in her new book Merchants of Truth, which profiles four newsrooms — Vice, BuzzFeed, The Times, and The Washington Post. Meanwhile, the New York Times newsroom is growing — adding 120 people last year for a total of 1,600 journalists, the largest count in its history. (CNN, NYT)

Blitzscaling myths
The pursuit of monopoly has led Silicon Valley astray, writes Tim O'Reilly in a response to LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and entrepreneur Chris Yeh’s book Blitzscaling. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon are said to be icons of the blitzscaling approach, but this idea is plausible only with quite a bit of revisionist history, he says. (Quartz)

Tech Is Splitting the US Workforce in Two
Automation is changing the nature of work, flushing workers without a college degree out of productive industries, like manufacturing and high-tech services, and into tasks with meagre wages and no prospect for advancement, reports Eduardo Porter from Phoenix, Arizona. (NYT)

iPhone apps that secretly record
Many major companies, like Air Canada, Hollister and Expedia, are recording every tap and swipe you make on their iPhone apps. In most cases you won’t even realise it. And they don’t need to ask for permission, reports Techcrunch.

DeepMind's AI card game
Deepmind’s AI has mastered the board game Go. Its next target is a fiendishly difficult card game called Hanabi. (MIT Tech Review)

New emojis are on the way (:-)
There are 59 new emojis coming to your smartphone — including one representing a woman’s period. The latest batch of releases, due in the second half of the year, will also include a yawning face, an orang-utan and a falafel. (Fast Company)

Tech tools you can use — Live Transcribe

live transcribe

Google Translate was the star of the search giant's Super Bowl commercial on Sunday, with its ability to transcribe the spoken word and present it in another language, but Google has launched two more apps this week to aid understanding of conversations.

Both are accessibility features that can help the hard of hearing. Live Transcribe takes real-world speech and turns it into real-time captions using an Android phone’s microphone. I have trouble myself sorting out and getting all of a conversation in the competing sounds of a busy restaurant and Sound Amplifier can be used on an Android smartphone with wired headphones to filter, augment and amplify the sounds in your environment. It works by increasing quiet sounds, while not over-boosting loud sounds. Settings can be customised and noise reduction technology applied to minimise distracting background noise.

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