Twitter user growth disappoints
Twitter only added 4 million extra users during the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the company’s latest earnings report. Twitter’s monthly users are roughly one fifth of the amount that visits its mammoth rival, Facebook. In December 2014, photo app Instagram eclipsed Twitter’s user mark by reaching 300 million users.
The company fell short of analysts’ user growth expectations by about 3 million users last year. With negative publicity surrounding the company recently – the firing of top management officials and complaints over the company’s user privacy policies, to name a few – Twitter still has plenty to prove despite its size and success.
On the other hand, the company’s revenues did not disappoint. Twitter reported an annual revenue increase of 97% to $479 million for 2014, compared to $243 million for the year prior. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo certainly focused on the positive revenue growth over the stagnation in additional users. “We closed out the year with our business advancing at a great pace. Revenue growth accelerated again for the full year, and we had record quarterly profits on an adjusted EBITDA bases,” he said in the earnings report.
Still, Twitter will look to prove to investors that it hasn’t hit a wall and its best growth years are yet to come.
Anthem in massive security breach
U.S. health insurance company Anthem revealed it had been the subject of a massive data breach this week, in which 80 million of its customers could be affected. The company said hackers stole users’ data from it system between December 10 and January 27, gaining access to a database that contained people names, social security numbers and addresses.
Early investigations into the breach led to fingers being pointed at China. Bloomberg reported that Chinese state sponsored hackers were under suspicion for the attack, which China denied. It is thought the hackers gained access to the system through targeted phishing attacks, which fooled five Anthem tech workers.
Regardless of who is behind the attack, the lawsuits have already started to flood in. At least four have been launched so far, claiming the insurance company didn’t do enough to protect its customers’ data, USA Today reports.
FCC Chairman vows to defend net neutrality
The net neutrality debate has raged for many months now, but campaigners to keep all Internet service equal have received their biggest boost yet this week, as FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler promised “strong” protections for the principles of net neutrality.
The crux of the argument is simple – Internet service providers want to have the ability to create ‘fast lanes’ of Internet, which companies and individuals seeking speedier services could sign up to – but for a price. Almost everyone except the service providers believe this is unfair to those unable or unwilling to pay a premium for faster service, and the move would stifle startups and innovation in the U.S.
In an article in Wired, Wheeler wrote that he intends to reclassify Internet service providers to make them similar to any other public utility, which would mean they would be regulated by a watchdog. FCC commissioners will vote on the proposal on February 26.
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