Through the looking glass: Twitter has a far greater economic impact than its numbers indicate. It's not a stretch to even consider the platform undervalued. 321 million monthly active users aren't that many compared to, say, Facebook, but try to imagine what the social landscape would look like if Twitter didn't exist.

Twitter on Thursday reported fourth quarter earnings that beat Wall Street expectations.

For the quarter ending December 31, 2018, Twitter generated $909 million in total revenue, an increase of 24 percent year-over-year. The majority of its earnings - $506 million – originated from US-based operations. Net income (profit) for the quarter checked in at $255 million, or $0.33 per share.

Twitter is still struggling in the user growth department.

Monthly active users in the quarter slid to 321 million, a dip of nine million year-over-year and down five million quarter-over-quarter. Twitter said the decrease was the result of a number of factors including changes that reduced the number of e-mail notifications sent, decisions made to prioritize the health of the service, changes made to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and not moving to paid SMS carrier relationships in certain markets.

To counter the poor optics associated with the decline in monthly active users, Twitter also shared its monetizable daily active user count for the first time: 126 million. According to Twitter, this is nine percent higher than the same period a year earlier with double-digit growth in five of its top 10 markets worldwide.

Looking ahead, Twitter expects total revenue for Q1 2019 to be between $715 million and $775 million.

Lead image courtesy Tero Vesalainen via Shutterstock