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Facebook financial results shine amid data privacy scandal

26 April 2018

Facebook's data privacy problems have had little impact on its profitability as the company posted record revenues for the first quarter of 2018.

Mobile represented approximately 91 per cent of Facebook's overall revenue for the first quarter of 2018 - up from approximately 85 per cent in the first quarter of 2017.

People keep flocking to Facebook and the social network keeps raking in money by selling them ads, privacy scandals or not. Daily active users also increased, including in Facebook's most popular market: the USA and Canada, where the company saw its first-ever decline last quarter. This brings the numbers up to 1.45 billion daily and 2.2 billion monthly active users.

Facebook said it ended the first quarter with 27,742 employees, up 48 percent from a year earlier.

Facebook has spent the past month explaining, apologizing and tweaking its rules after an app developer passed along personal information on as many as 87 million users to Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, which may have failed to delete it.

Facebook shares climbed more than 6.9% to $170.75 in after-hours trades that followed release of the earnings figures.

Facebook reported its Q1 2018 financial results on Wednesday. ".It is self-evident that apart from being very cryptic, the unstated intention was to hide more than reveal,"said the latest notice to Cambridge Analytica".

Facebook noted that it expects European user growth to stall when the EU's GDPR regulations come into affect on 25 May.

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is now scrutinising the role of digital platforms in diverting advertising away from traditional media companies, as well as how much users know about the data being collected about them.

But Williamson said some of Facebook's momentum was already fading due to other factors such as disinformation, social media fatigue and new platforms attracting young people.

The social media giant has overhauled many of its privacy and data-sharing policies amid a campaign to #deleteFacebook.

Facebook's income rose by 63% to $4.99 billion from $3.06 billion previous year. "To each query, the company that faces probes in different parts of the world for illegal data mining, has provided one line answers which don't explain anything or provide any assurances".

"While CA has denied (in the earlier response) having any Facebook data of Indian citizens, please confirm whether any such data was ever accessed by (or offered to) CA", it said.

Facebook topped market forecasts for revenue and earnings in the three months to March 31, joining rival Google in doing much better than anyone had thought.

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.

Early this month, Zuckerberg fended off questions from USA senators about how the organisation could be regulated more closely.

Facebook financial results shine amid data privacy scandal