Here's how iOS 8 cost Twitter four million users

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Dick Costolo

AP

Twitter announced its Q4 2014 earnings on Thursday.

The company beat revenue and earnings per share estimates, but missed Wall Street's month active user (MAU) target.

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Twitter reported 288 million MAUs vs. 295 million expected.

CFO Anthony Noto said the decline in users was due to Apple's rollout of iOS 8 in September.

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"We lost approximately 4 million net users due to rollouts of iOS 8," said Noto.

Some Apple experts didn't understand Noto's explanation:

But Twitter explained to us that 3 million people disappeared because of a change in the Shared Links section of the Safari browser on iOS 8.

In iOS 7, if you are logged into Twitter, the Shared Links section will automatically show you tweets from people on your connected Twitter accounts. iOS 8 made the process more manual, Twitter told us, and got rid of that automatic polling, so tweets weren't immediately up to date. You can also follow RSS feeds in the Shared Links section, which may have reduced the prominence of Twitter links there.

Twitter said that another 1 million people dropped out as they bought new iPhones and did not install the Twitter app again, or couldn't use it because they'd forgotten their password or other information.

All in all, 4 million users is a drop in the bucket of Twitter's total 288 million users, but the company only missed user expectations by 7 million, so it's significant in that respect.

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