Facebook shares closed lower in the US Wednesday but are poised to open in the green Thursday, after the social media site’s first-quarter earnings came in stronger than expected. Mark Zuckerberg’s company achieved 50% revenue growth despite the Cambridge Analytica scandal that hit mid-March.
Facebook shares ended the US Wednesday trading session lower at $159.69. However, after-hours activity saw the stock gain as much as 4% on the results, while it climbed around 7% after the earnings call.
Facebook user growth continues
Facebook’s Q1 earnings showed that company revenues hit just shy of $12 billion in the first three months of 2018. That’s a 50% increase from the same period in 2017.
While ad revenues were the main driver of that increase, the tech business also saw some 70 million new users join the site in Q1. That helped its daily active user level climb to 1.45 billion. And, total profits for Facebook, hit £4.99 billion in Q1, a 63% gain from Q1 2017.
“Despite facing important challenges, our community and business are off to a strong start in 2018,” Facebook founder and CEO Zuckerberg said.
“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,” he added.
Surprisingly upbeat earnings
Both revenues and profits beat analysts’ expectations as the Facebook Q1 earnings report was more positive than had been anticipated.
In the earnings call which follows the initial release of the earnings details, Zuckerberg told listeners the tech giant plans to add some 20,000 new staff to help work on and improve its security and privacy features.
“We are going through every part of our relationship with people and making sure we're taking a broad enough view of our responsibility -- not just to build tools, but to make sure those tools are used for good. This means continuing to invest heavily in safety, security and privacy,” Zuckerberg said.
“Overall, 2018 is a year of important investments -- to keep people safe, and also to keep building the experiences people expect from us,” Zuckerberg added.