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Twitter users are being ‘resurrected’ thanks in part to Donald Trump

Twitter says it noticed a boost from previously dormant users now following political news in the U.S. last quarter.

President Trump Signs Executive Order Promoting Agriculture And Rural Prosperity In America Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

President Donald Trump uses Twitter like no U.S. president, or politician really, ever has before.

So it was surprising that despite Trump’s incessant tweeting during the U.S. election last fall, Twitter added just two million new users in the last three months of the year. Facebook, for comparison, added 72 million new users.

There may have simply been a delay.

Twitter reported Q1 earnings Wednesday and surprised Wall Street by adding nine million new users, its largest quarter-over-quarter jump in two years. In the company’s shareholder letter, it attributed the jump to the same things it always attributes growth to: Seasonality, product improvements and marketing. Not super helpful.

But on the company’s earnings call, Anthony Noto, currently pulling double duty as COO and CFO, mentioned another explanation that wasn’t listed in the letter.

“There also is some evidence that we’ve benefitted from our new and resurrected users following more news and political accounts in Q1, particularly in the U.S.,” he said.

“We believe Twitter is the best at showing you what’s happening in the world and what’s being talked about,” he added. “Having political leaders of the world as well as news agencies participating and driving that is an important element to reinforcing what we’re the best at.”

That sounds like a Trump bump — it may have simply taken people a while to realize that he was going to be around for four years.

It’s also worth noting the company’s use of the term “resurrected” users, which it has used before, but refers to accounts that have been dormant for more than 30 days. It’s believed that there are more than a billion dormant Twitter accounts, and getting people to activate them has always been a massive opportunity for Twitter.

It means that Twitter already has a billion people who were interested enough to take the time to sign up but didn’t have a good reason to consistently come back. Donald Trump appears to be that reason, at least for a small number of people.

Twitter says that Trump is not the only reason Twitter growth improved last quarter. The company says Q1 is always its strongest growth quarter — and indeed, the last time Twitter added more than 10 million users in a quarter was Q1 2015.

CEO Jack Dorsey also pointed to product improvements, like better push notifications and more improvements around detecting and decreasing abuse.

So is this the new norm? Has Twitter finally jumpstarted its growth for the long haul? Not so fast. Noto pointed out that the company is not providing an outlook for MAU or DAU growth in Q2.

“Q1 is typically our seasonally strongest quarter for MAU growth, and historically we have not benefitted from seasonality in Q2, making the growth there more dependent on the product and marketing drivers,” he explained.

Twitter stock was up more than 10 percent early Wednesday on the news.


This article originally appeared on Recode.net.