The social network continued to add users and saw revenue soar in the first quarter despite facing its worst crisis in company history over the mishandling of personal data belonging to millions of unsuspecting users.
Earnings per share grew 62% to $1.69, well above estimates or $1.35. Monthly active users totaled 2.2 billion and daily active users 1.45 billion, both meeting analysts’ expectations of a 13% increase from a year earlier. The results marked the company’s first quarterly earnings report since the Cambridge Analytical scandal erupted nearly six weeks ago, about halfway through the first quarter.
“Despite facing important challenges our community and business are off to a strong start in 2018. We are taking a broader view of our responsibility and investing to make sure our services are used for good. But we also need to keep building new tools to help people connect, strengthen our communities, and bring the world closer together”, said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder on Wednesday, April 25th to the press.
The earnings report was closely watched for any signs of harm to Facebook’s bottom line amid a cascading controversy that has galvanized attention over privacy and sparked a backlash against behemoth tech companies.
A boycott campaign popularized by the hashtag #DeleteFacebook stoked fears of an exodus that could leach to advertisers. At least three companies, Samos, Commerzbank and Mozilla, pulled their advertising from the platform in response to the scandal.
Analysts estimated that Facebook would report 1.45 billion daily active users the first three months of this year, compared with 1.4 billion the previous quarter. Analysts also expected monthly active users to rise to 2.19 billion from 2.13 billion in the fourth quarter. The results far exceeded those expectations, underscoring again the dominance Facebook commands in digital advertising along with Google.