Shortly after Twitter shared its fourth quarter results Tuesday, company CFO Ned Segal told CNBC that former president Donald Trump would not be allowed to return to the platform, even if he were to be re-elected president in the future.
Though the company braced for a mass deactivation of Trump supporters following its decision late in the fourth quarter, its fears did not pan out. "In January, we added more [daily active users] than the average of the last four Januarys," Segal said. "Hopefully that gives people a sense [of] the momentum."
Twitter, Trump's favored social media app, permanently suspended his account two days after the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, due to "the risk of further incitement of violence," it said. Segal reiterated Tuesday the suspension cannot be overturned.
Twitter's company guidelines and policies are designed to ensure users do not incite violence or spread hate speech and misinformation.
"If anybody does that, we have to remove them from the service, and our policies don't allow people to come back," Segal said. "[Trump] was removed when he was president, and there would be no difference for anybody who was a public official, once they had been removed from the service."
When it disabled Trump's account, Twitter released a statement detailing an overview and an assessment of its decision.
"In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear ... that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action," the company wrote. "Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open."
Trump used his personal Twitter account, which at its peak boasted 88 million followers, prolifically during his campaign and throughout his four years in office. Without his presence in the coming quarter, Twitter hopes to grow an additional 20%, which Segal acknowledged is a "tough comp," given that the company grew 24% year-over-year in 2020.
Against the backdrop of the Trump account closure, Twitter reported impressive fourth quarter, adding 5 million new daily users and beating expectations of analysts, who predicted a precipitous drop in response to the ban.
Michael Nathanson, an analyst at research firm MoffettNathanson told the Wall Street Journal he had been watching for signs about whether the Trump ban would hurt Twitter's advertising business; Tuesday's earnings announcement proved it did not.
The fiscal year 2020 and fourth quarter earnings report implies Twitter is "still growing users despite the ending of probably their most famous user, which is really positive," Nathanson said.
Twitter hosted 192 million daily active users worldwide in the fourth quarter, up from 187 million in the third quarter and 152 million in the year-earlier period, Segal said on an earnings call.