Facebook reports profit surge, user growth despite scandals

Cambridge Analytica and Facebook logos

Facebook added that its first-quarter revenue was also strong, coming in at $11.97 billion, ahead of the $11.4 billion that the Wall Street consensus estimate called for and beating the year-ago total of $8.03 billion. The stock has dropped about 14% since the new reports about data-privacy lapses emerged in March.

Facebook suffered its first-ever decline in North American users and said that time spent on its social network declined 5pc in the December quarter.

Facebook's business model relies on allowing advertisers to use customers' data to better target them and using the revenue from these ads to keep the social network available for free.

Facebook reported cash reserves of US$43.96 billion at the end of Q1 with capital expenditure for the period hitting US$2.81 billion.

Mark Zuckerberg, at 33 years old, is worth billions of dollars and has built a product that's used by 2 out of every 7 people on the planet. Its headcount stood at just under 28,000 at the end of March - 48% higher than this time previous year. However again, this was a fall on Q4 figures ($6.08).

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, who was called to testify to the US Senate after the Cambridge Analytica incident, described the chance to hear the public's concerns as an "important moment" for the company. "We are taking a broader view of our responsibility - to not only give people powerful tools but to make sure these tools are used for good".

The Indian government has sent a second notice to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica aka CA after finding discrepancies between the earlier responses by the two companies during the case of data breach.

Seoul hopes for 'Panmunjom agreement,' after inter-Korean summit
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"In a nutshell, overall this should be another step in the right direction for Facebook after a month of navigating these unprecedented data concerns post the Cambridge debacle with the worries around regulatory headwinds and damage to the company's advertising fortress a lingering black cloud over the stock". "Beyond the investments we're making to secure our platform, we're going to invest even more in building the experiences that bring people together on Facebook in the first place", Zuckerberg said.

"Despite facing important challenges, our community continues to grow".

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 United States 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.

It is spending to ensure users are not scared away by scandals. But he doesn't expect a major impact on Facebook revenue.

Digital platforms are now rolling out changes under the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which allows users to have more control over their data and imposes larger penalties for companies that breach the rules.

Because Facebook was a small company when iOS and Android were first emerging, he says "that just wasn't a thing we were working on".

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