Twitter 'outpaced by Facebook'

Social media giant Twitter has surpassed 255 million active users for the first time, but continues to struggle to keep pace with rival Facebook, according to quarterly figures released last night.

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The micro-blogging network, which has more than 15 million active users in the UK, saw an increase in the number of monthly active users and revenue. But market experts felt the company's figures were disappointing, and shares dropped 11% in the aftermath of the announcement.

Twitter celebrated its eighth birthday earlier this year, and saw its revenue more than double compared to the same quarter of 2013. However, losses were up from 27 million dollars (£16 million), to more than 130 million dollars (£77 million).

Rival Facebook in comparison saw its own revenue go beyond the 2.5 billion dollar mark (£1.4 billion) when it announced its quarterly figures last week.

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo said: "We had a very strong first quarter. Revenue growth accelerated on a year-on-year basis fuelled by increased engagement and user growth."

The number of people actually joining the network is slowing, however, and industry experts say this is what is damaging share prices, as the company tries to keep pace with Facebook - which boasts more than one billion users, with more than 800 million of them being active every month according to the social network's own figures.

Twitter continues to have most of its success on mobile, with the quarterly figures showing that 75% of the site's advertising revenue came from mobile devices. Overall advertising revenue was up by more than 120% compared with the previous year.

Last week, Twitter also unveiled a new look to user profiles on desktop computers, reportedly put in place to help entice new users to the network with the design, which is supposed to offer a more personal experience.

Twitter designer David Bellona said at the time of the launch: "Your Twitter profile shows the world who you are. We look forward to seeing what that means to you."

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