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Facebook Q4 Profit Up 61% Despite Privacy Saga

Facebook has post a whopping 61% year-on-year increase in Q4 profit to a record US$6.9 billion, despite several security and data privacy breaches throughout the year.

The news has sent shares in Facebook soaring 7.7% to US$162.04 in after-hours trading.

Revenues notched US$16.9 billion, trumping analyst expectations for US$16.3 billion. It follows US$12.9 billion the previous year.

Mobile advertising revenue contributed 93% of total ad spend, up from 89% the year before.

Operating margin has also improved from 57% to 47%.

Earnings came in above investor forecasts for US$2.19/per share, notching US$2.38/per share – up 65% versus the previous quarter.

Despite falling user trust and several privacy scandals, Facebook asserts daily active users climbed 9% year-on-year in December to around 1.52 billion. Monthly active users also climbed 9% to 2.32 billion.

Results were driven by a steady rise in advertising spending, coupled with continued growth from Instagram.

The social media giant estimates about 2.7 billion people use Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram each month, with around 2 billion people using at least one of these apps daily.

Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, asserts Facebook has “fundamentally changed” how it operates to focus on the “biggest social issues”.

“We’re investing more to build new and inspiring ways for people to connect.”

The news comes after Apple withdrew Facebook’s enterprise certificates for a research app which paid users for data information.

Facebook has also come under fire for proposed plans which may merge Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp’s messaging capabilities.

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