Facebook grows ad sales and active users

Facebook profit jumps 63% in Q1, grows to 2.2 bln monthly users

India on Wednesday shot-off second notice to both UK-based political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica and Facebook seeking more details on the data breach issue.

Despite the strong results, Facebook shares closed unmoved Wednesday. In total, 87 million users were affected.

The social network's quarterly revenues grew 49% year-on-year to $11.9 billion, while its earnings per share (EPS) was $1.69 - well in excess of the predicted $1.35. This brings the numbers up to 1.45 billion daily and 2.2 billion monthly active users.

The results are a bright spot for the world's largest social network amid months of negative headlines about the company's handling of personal information, its role in elections and its fueling of violence in developing countries.

Mobile advertising revenue on the network represented about 91 per cent of ad revenue for Q1, up from around 85 per cent in Q1, 2017. But in the aggregate they have shrugged off the scandals, as have users. The category includes efforts to root out fake accounts, scrub hate speech and take down violent videos.

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

Visitors take photos in front of the Facebook logo at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on March 28. The company's operating expenses came in below consensus expectations, though Zuckerberg has warned they will continue to eat into Facebook's profits as it adds 20,000 workers to address security and privacy concerns.

It has been almost two years since Facebook shares rose 7 percent or more during a trading day.

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The company's net income grew 63 per cent to $US4.99 million, while diluted earnings per share was at $1.69 - also up 63 per cent on the prior corresponding period. Facebook also owns the popular smartphone apps Messenger and WhatsApp.

"I know that a lot of people have had questions about the business model", Zuckerberg said.

Facebook and Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google together dominate the internet ad business worldwide.

"The amount of uncertainty there is for us and all the other companies in the digital advertising industry is reasonably higher than it's been right now because we're all in the process of rolling out GDPR", she said. The $9 billion stock buyback comes in addition to the $6 billion already authorised.

Facebook's stock has been battered over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, dropping nearly 18% in late March from its $185 pre-crisis peak.

When asked about the business impact of the changes at the February Morgan Stanley tech conference in San Francisco, Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Wehner told analysts that spending less time on the platform doesn't necessarily mean a corresponding decline in revenue.

Steps outlined by Zuckerberg to address these areas include restricting the data developers can access; building more artificial intelligence tools to detect and remove fake accounts ahead of elections in both the USA and Europe last year, and doubling the headcount working on security and content review to more than 20,000 by the end of this year.

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