Twitter posts its first profit, but problems remain

Bot buster

Twitter (TWTR) reported its first quarterly profit in history and returned to revenue growth in the fourth quarter, cheering investors.

Its stock soared $5.88, or almost 22 percent, to $32.79 in pre-market trading Thursday.

Revenue exceeded analysts' forecasts. The company said revenue rose 2 percent to $732 million, higher than the $686 million expected by analysts that follow the social-media service. 

Though the results beat Wall Street's cautious expectations, they don't solve the company's broader problems.

It's been dealing with abuse, fake accounts and attempts by Russian agents to spread misinformation. The troubles have been compounded by stagnant user growth. The company has vowed to address those issues, including concerns about trolling and online abuse.

"We are committed to making Twitter safer, and we are clarifying our policies, improving our enforcement, and communicating more clearly," the company said in a shareholder letter issued on Thursday. 

And with a prominent executive leaving shortly, and the CEO splitting its time with another company, Twitter's now facing questions about just who is minding the store.

Twitter has said it's dealing with the problems. The company has introduced a slew of new measures to weed out abusive accounts. Still, critics say the company is playing whack-a-mole with its problems, with often inadequate responses.