Facebook announced their quarterly earnings on Wednesday. The tech giant has been drenched in scandals that show no signs of slowing down. Their latest squabble with Apple over Facebook Research is one example. The surprising part, however, is that Facebook’s growth has not slowed down either. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said:
“Our community and business continue to grow. We’ve fundamentally changed how we run our company to focus on the biggest social issues, and we’re investing more to build new and inspiring ways for people to connect.”
Facebook’s Quarterly Earnings
Despite concerns, Facebook has topped revenue and profit estimates for this quarter. Facebook’s earnings are from advertisements and there has been a steady rise in advertising spending on its platforms. According to IBES data from Refinitiv, the monthly active users on Facebook rose even further, now standing at 2.32 billion. Moreover, daily active users also saw a 9% increase to 1.52 billion.
A million new users from North America have also joined the ranks. Users from Europe have also seen a rise. This is especially important since Facebook saw a decline in users from Europe and the US in the previous quarter.
Facebook also announced in the release that around 2.7 billion people in total use Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger per month. Almost 2 billion using one of the four services every day.
The net income for Facebook shareholders rose from $4.27 billion ($1.44 per share) from last year to $6.88 billion ($2.38 per share). Total revenue also rose from $12.97 billion to $16.91 billion.
Haris Anwar, an analyst, put it bluntly:
“The worst is over for this social media giant. Its ad business and user engagement haven’t been affected despite all the negative blows of the past year.”
Following the announcement, Facebook’s shares jumped up 6% in the stock market.
The greatest irony in this scenario is the #deletefacebook social media campaign that asked people to give up on Facebook and move on. This campaign found traction mainly on Twitter after Facebook found itself at the center of a series of horrific scandals throughout 2018.
Facebook saw its platform center stage in the Myanmar genocide when hate speech that fueled a large scale ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims spread via the social media site. The fact that Facebook did nothing to prevent it proved catastrophic, though not to their bottom line. Another blow came in the form of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Investigations by federal institutions concluded that the US Presidential elections of 2016 had been deliberately manipulated with the help of misinformation and fake news on Facebook. Zuckerberg appeared in front of Congress to give testimony regarding data security and privacy. The major hack announced in late 2018 that affected 30 million Facebook users in September did not help their reputation either.
Reports started surfacing in November that the Facebook HQ knew about Russian trolls meddling in the 2016 elections but chose not to act. Similar groundbreaking reveals about Facebook deliberately collecting and misusing personal data belonging to its users took things to whole new level. One that many thought would dent their profits.
However, Mark Zuckerberg started 2o19 with the promise that they had improved. Even though the last month has brought on even more scandals involving collecting data from children (and not for the first time) and showing just how little their employees care about ethics, Facebook seems to be doing quite well for itself.