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The number of Facebook users - and the company's stock price

26 April 2018

Facebook Inc. posted strong results in the first three months of the year, despite a data-privacy scandal that erupted toward the end of the period, which sent the social media company scrambling to stem a growing public backlash against its mishandling of personal data.

Facebook's revenue, which largely derives from ads, soared 49 percent to $12 billion in the first three months of the year, the company announced today.

Facebook, which generates revenue primarily by selling advertising personalized to its users, has demonstrated for several quarters how resilient its business model can be as long as users keep coming back to scroll through its News Feed and watch its videos. Many users said they would delete their accounts, raising fears that the service was facing a major crisis.

While Facebook had admitted that almost 5.62 lakh people in India were "potentially affected" by the data breach incident, Cambridge Analytica had claimed that it does not have any Facebook data on Indian citizens.

The number of daily active users in Canada and the USA - its most lucrative advertising demographic - rose by 100,000 from the previous quarter to 185 million.

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During a conference call with analysts on Wednesday, Zuckerberg reiterated much of what he covered during those hearings by explaining recent initiatives like increasing the number of employees who handle reviewing content for security and safety to 20,000.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced Kevin Martin, a former Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, would become its interim head of US policy, replacing chief privacy officer Erin Egan, as the company continues to grapple with the political fallout from the Cambridge Analytica controversy.

The stock rose as much as 7% in after hours trading Wednesday following the earnings release. Facebook also said it expects active users in Europe to fall or flatten in the next quarter, once the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) advertising and privacy rules go into effect in the region on May 25.

Net income attributable to Facebook shareholders rose in the first quarter to $4.99 billion, or $1.69 per share, from $3.06 billion, or $1.04 per share, a year earlier.

"Most are disturbed at an individual level with what happened, but there's nothing that made Facebook overly toxic - yet", he said.

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After conversations with ad agencies and ad tech companies, Salmon believes some will see a decline in the profitability of their ads as a result of the change.

The tool, which is also being tested in Canada, follows a scandal involving the political consultant Cambridge Analytica that has stoked concerns about privacy on the social network. Although it was suggested that the firm may have used the data to target specific ads toward potential voters during its work for the Trump campaign, spokesman Clarence Mitchell claimed this week that the company decided not to use the information after realizing it was "ineffectual".

Facebook also has plenty of properties where it's starting to make more money beyond the main social network, like the popular chat apps WhatsApp and Messenger and the photo-sharing app Instagram, which is expected to reach a billion users this year.

Early this month, Zuckerberg fended off questions from United States senators about how the organisation could be regulated more closely.

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The number of Facebook users - and the company's stock price