Twitter reveals small profits for UK operations

By Rachel Hand topicIcon Social Media

UK profits announced

Twitter has published its maiden accounts for UK operations, revealing slender profits of just £16,500.

The abbreviated accounts cover the first seven months of trading for Twitter's UK subsidiary, which opened in London in May 2011. The UK office is responsible for selling promoted tweets and other advertising to UK businesses, with early adopters including Sky, O2 and Ladbrokes. During 2012 the company also launched promoted tweets for mobile devices, and introduced the ability to target the promoted tweets, in a bid to increase their appeal for advertisers.

UK profits may appear meagre, but according to research from eMarketer, on a global scale Twitter's advertising revenues are strong, totalling $288m (£179m) in 2012. This is predicted to rise to $545m in 2013. A Twitter spokesperson told the Guardian that profits were "in line with the scale of UK trading at that time".

Troublesome tweets

In less positive news for Twitter, the company is facing controversy in France this week as a group of students are in court demanding that the company release the names of users posting anti-Semitic tweets. In October 2012, the hashtag #unbonjuif (a good Jew) became one of the most popular topics among French language users, with many posts containing offensive comments. Twitter agreed to remove the offensive tweets, but the Union of French Jewish Students is now supported by four international anti-racism groups in its bid to name and shame those involved, potentially leading to prosecutions under France's hate speech laws.

However, Twitter has so far said it cannot legally release user details without approval from a US court, as that is where the company itself is based. Any rulings from the French court, expected on January 24, will therefore not be enforceable.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, commented: "For a US-based social media company that only introduced advertising two years ago, it's understandable if UK profits are perhaps just a drop in the ocean. With rumours of an IPO for Twitter on the horizon, analysts will be paying close attention to these figures now, while the company will have to strive to avoid controversies such as the current situation in France or the recent password scare."