Facebook Sales Rise Despite Data Scandal

Video Now Driving Twitter's Business

Facebook has seen advertising revenues leap 50 per cent year-on-year to US$11.79 billion, although dip compared to Q4, as it battles ongoing media, political and legal scrutiny around consumer data and privacy practices.

Net income rose 63% to almost $US5 billion against the year-ago quarter on revenue that was up 50% to $US11.97b.

He added: "We are taking a broader view of our responsibility and investing to make sure our services are used for good".

The stock rose as much as 7% in after hours trading Wednesday following the earnings release.

The company's shares jumped as high as $167.86 (U.S.) after closing unchanged at $159.69 in regular NY trading.

FB stock gained about 5.5% after the bell Wednesday. This brings the numbers up to 1.45 billion daily and 2.2 billion monthly active users.

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. Its headcount stood at just under 28,000 at the end of March - 48% higher than this time a year ago.

Facebook also said it expected the number of users across Europe to stop growing or even drop as the General Data Protection Regulation, a sweeping set of digital-privacy rules, comes into force on May 25. That unit includes some of the money the company is spending on quality and safety initiatives, and Wehner expects the spending to "carry through the year". In the year-earlier period, Facebook grew impressions by 32% and ad prices by 14%.

"Facebook continues to have a long revenue runway ahead of it", Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said in a note to investors.

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In another sign public anger directed at Silicon Valley hasn't hurt business, Twitter and Alphabet, Google's parent company, also reported strong financial results this week. "And that will be very valuable for businesses". Zuckerberg said as recently as early April that it has had no material effect on the company's financial operations - yet.

"It's clear now we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well - whether it's foreign interference in elections, fake news, hate speech or app developers and data privacy", Zuckerberg stated.

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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 USA congressional hearings.

Zuckerberg made the comments in response to a question about Facebook's Oculus virtual reality headset - a product that Zuckerberg believes could lay the foundation for a new and improved "people first" computing platform. "I think the impact of eroded trust will require a significant amount of time to play out".

Several advertisers contacted the company with concerns in the days after the Cambridge Analytica controversy broke, and a "handful" stopped advertising on the platform, though one has since returned, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg told a call with analysts.

"But the thing that won't change is that advertisers are going to look at the highest return on investment opportunity and what's most important [when] winning budgets is relative performance in the industry".

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