Facebook, which attracts all its revenue from advertising, has made a record quarter profit with revenue smashing analysts’ estimates.
Facebook, which also owns Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, said its third-quarter revenue grew by 29% to US$17.7 billion.
The largest social network in the world reported net income of US$6.1bn in the three months ending September 30, compared to US$5.1bn the previous year.
The number of users on all of its platforms combined has grown more slowly than revenue. In the third quarter, monthly active users were up 8% to 2.45 billion year-over-year. The company’s daily active user numbers beat expectations slightly, with 9% growth year-over-year to 1.62 billion, The Washington Post reported.
Around 2.2 billion people now use either Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger every day and 2.8 billion per month, it said.
“Advertisers continue to support Facebook, despite the many controversies swirling around the company, and the user base also continues to expand around the world,” eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson told The Telegraph. “Yes, Facebook has a lot of challenges it must deal with, but increasing its revenue and user count isn’t one of them.”
The past few months have been among the rockiest in the company’s 15-year history. In July, the US Federal Trade Commission slapped Facebook with a historic US$5 billion fine for repeated privacy violations. The agency levied a fine after a 16-month investigation stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a political consultancy with ties to the Trump presidential campaign improperly accessed the data of tens of millions of Facebook users.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his compony’s stance on political advertising after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the social network would ban them from 22 November.
While it may be easier for the social network to “choose a different path,” Zuckerberg felt it more important to stand up for free speech and free expression.
“We need to be careful about adopting more rules that can restrict what people can say,” he said. “I don’t think it’s right for politicians to be censored.”
In the US, Zuckerberg faces several government investigations for alleged anti-competitive behaviour, including probes by the Federal Trade Commission and 46 state attorneys general.
Investors sent Facebook’s stock up 4% in after-hours trading following the earnings report.