Facebook gets thumbs up from investors after easily crushing Q4

31 Jan 2019

Image: © abdullah/Stock.adobe.com

Social network proved Wall Street wrong.

Despite the most tumultuous year in its relatively short 15-year history, social network Facebook crushed its fourth quarter and reported record revenues.

The performance sent shares soaring 12pc in extended trading yesterday (30 January).

‘We’ve fundamentally changed how we run our company to focus on the biggest social issues’

The company reported Q4 revenues of $16.9bn, ahead of the Wall Street estimate of $16.1bn.

It hit 2.32bn monthly users, which is up 2.2pc from 2.27bn in the last quarter. The social network reported 1.52bn daily active users, up from 1.49bn in the last quarter.

A mobile beast

Its daily-to-monthly user ratio held steady at 66pc, indicating existing Facebook users remain loyal to the platform despite highly publicised data breaches and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

“Our community and business continue to grow,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. “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.”

Advertising revenue came in at $16.64bn while revenue from payments and other fees amounted to $274m.

Mobile advertising revenue represented 93pc of advertising revenue for Q4, up from 89pc of advertising revenue in Q4 2017.

Facebook has invested significantly in recruiting people to ensure safety and help combat the scourge of so-called ‘fake news’. Headcount was 35,587 as of 31 December 2018, an increase of 42pc year over year.

Family circle

Recent reports that Facebook was intending to combine the social network with Instagram and WhatsApp raised a few eyebrows. The company clarified things by referring to Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger as its “family” of services.

The social media giant estimates that around 2.7bn people now use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Despite the return to financial health after a rocky 2018, Facebook still has its work cut out convincing regions such as Europe that it is taking a principled stand against disinformation as European 2019 and US 2020 elections rumble into focus.

Earlier this week, it revealed plans to locate two ‘war rooms’ to detect potential election tampering in Dublin and Singapore.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years