Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Facebook keeps earning despite data privacy scandal

Facebook’s rise in profits despite controversy Facebook keeps earning despite data privacy scandal
Eleanor Moreno | 26 April, 2018, 12:41

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has praised the social media giant's positive financial performance for the first quarter of 2018.

There was no early impact from the data-privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica which erupted in mid-March and not enough to knock the record breaking performance.

And perhaps most strikingly, users continued to grow.

Overall, Facebook reported first quarter earnings of $11.96 billion, up from $8.03 billion a year ago; earnings per share (EPS) rose from $1.04 billion to $1.69 billion. The number of Facebook's daily active users in the United States and Canada also inched up to 185 million during the first quarter from 184 million in the previous quarter.

The results are a bright spot for the world's largest social network amid months of negative headlines about the company's handling of personal information, its role in elections and its fueling of violence in developing countries.

Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 91% of advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2018.

Although the impact of the scandal, which broke in mid-March, was unlikely to be reflected in the first quarter, the early signs suggested users and advertisers would remain.

David Wehner, Facebook's CFO, said Wednesday that the law, called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), could cause user growth in Europe to stall or decline slightly quarter over quarter. The category includes efforts to root out fake accounts, scrub hate speech and take down violent videos. Facebook also said its employee headcount grew to 27,742, a 48 percent increase year over year.

Visitors take photos in front of the Facebook logo at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on March 28, 2018.


"While privacy and security are very serious issues that Facebook is rightly focusing on, as long as the return-on-investment is there, advertisers won't stop investing in Facebook altogether", he said.

Facebook's stock rose more than 4 percent in after-hours trading.

Shares [NAS:FB] rose about 7% to $US170.80.

First quarter profits also grew, reaching $4.9bn compared to $3bn a year ago. Analysts were calling for the network to bring in adjusted earnings of $1.35 per share, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters. The company's quarterly report reveals that 98.5 percent of that came from advertising revenue. The government has also sought information about the entities working under CA along with the details of their directors. Facebook also owns the popular smartphone apps Messenger and WhatsApp.

An official said, "Close scrutiny of the replies by Facebook discrepancies between the responses of Facebook which is the platform from which data was siphoned and Cambridge Analytica who illegally received the data".

Facebook and Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google together dominate the internet ad business worldwide.

The company's total revenue increased 49 percent, in comparison to 2017, while its advertising revenue increased by 50 percent when compared to 2017.

The company said it was increasing the amount of money authorized to repurchase shares by an additional $9 billion.

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