Facebook result unscathed by data scandal as advertisers stick around

Facebook result unscathed by data scandal as advertisers stick around

Facebook result unscathed by data scandal as advertisers stick around

Facebook's quarterly sales rose by almost 50% in the social media giant's first results since a privacy scandal over users' data emerged.

Facebook said its daily active users had gone up 13 percent from previous year to an average of 1.45 billion for March while its monthly active users had also risen 13 percent to 2.20 billion.

Nearly all of Facebook's advertising revenue, 91%, is from mobile advertising, a year-on-year increase from 85%.

Still, the company has been rocked internally by the data crisis, which has caused Facebook to launch a review of all of its products and evaluate how much information it should share with app developers, researchers and advertisers. The numbers indicate the company does that extremely well: Facebook said it made an average $5.45 in advertising revenue on each user worldwide in the quarter, and an average $23.14 on ad sales for each user in the U.S. and Canada.

"The Cambridge Analytica controversy and a "#deleteFacebook" campaign have not hurt Facebook earnings - at least in the three months to March 31.

Facebook's expenses will continue to grow as it invests in security and other efforts.

These figures come in the wake of bad press that the company's received for its involvement in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

While a poll last month showed that Facebook's favorability plunged 28 points in the five months between October and March, on Wednesday, the company's stock price exploded more than 7 percent in after-hours trading.

During Facebook's Q1 conference call on Wednesday, Zuckerberg revealed one of his "great regrets" about his stewardship of the company.


Facebook's chief financial officer, Dave Wehner, warned that GDPR could lead to a fall in users and revenue in Europe, particularly as people start tightening up their accounts to prevent so much targeted advertising.

If users weren't deterred by data privacy concerns, neither were advertisers.

"People want [Facebook] to be more about friends and family and less about content consumption", he said. He told analysts the public testimony was an "important moment" for the company.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, which has sparked government investigations globally, was mentioned only once on an hour-long conference call between analysts and Facebook management, when one analyst asked Zuckerberg what he learned from testifying in U.S. congressional hearings.

On a daily basis, about 1.45bn people use the social network, an increase of 13 percent compared to 2017's first quarter.

Facebook strong earnings report comes as it grapples with a data privacy scandal that strikes at how the huge social network makes money from what it knows about people.

Sandberg rejected any suggestion that Facebook should diversify its business model away from micro-targeted advertising. It has not shared the revenue generated by Instagram, the photo-sharing app it owns, and it declined to provide details about time spent on Facebook.

The European Parliament last week demanded Zuckerberg appear in person to answer questions about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, rejecting his offer to send a more junior executive in his place.

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