Facebook Posts Record Profits Despite a Year of User Data Scandals

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Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) shares are surging after reporting a big fourth-quarter earnings beat. The revenue for the quarter was $16.91 billion, which is more than estimations by analysts.

Facebook's operating margin fell 11 percentage points year over year to 46% during the fourth quarter, due to higher infrastructure investments and a 42% increase in its headcount.

Shares of the social media network rose almost 12 percent to $168 in trading before the bell on Thursday, with at least 17 analysts raising their price targets on the stock.

Facebook continued to demonstrate solid user growth globally as daily active users were up 9% to 1.52 billion, and monthly active users also increased 9% to 2.32 billion. However, Facebook of late started using Stories to generate some revenue. It exceeded revenue expectations and as well had massive growth in users.

Rakhee Jogia, VP, Strategic Partnership & Supply at Rakuten Marketing, added: "These results are testament to Facebook continuing to empower brands with new advertising and ecommerce options across its portfolio of platforms".

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (C) testifies at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., United States, on April 10, 2018.

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Zuckerberg has consistently defended the social network's business of keeping the service free by targeting ads based on interests, adamant the social network does not sell people's data. Shares of Google parent Alphabet Inc rose 1.4 percent in extended trading on Wednesday. He said the move is "a 2020 thing or beyond". During the fourth quarter, the public learned more about how it let Russian Federation manipulate users in campaigns that continued through the 2018 United States midterm elections. The company said eventually, it will no longer report how many people use the social network.

Other new experiences that Zuckerberg said would roll out this across Facebook's family of services this year are: payments on WhatsApp in some more countries; new shopping and commerce experiences on Instagram; and the launch of its Oculus Quest VR headset in spring.

Advertising revenues for 2018 were a staggering $55bn. When an advertiser uses Facebook Ads Manager, it has the option to select one or more placements for its ads.

"We have learned in capitalism that when companies get a lot of power and say they are doing what is best for you, we need to scrutinize them more", Bernoff said.

While Facebook is still the most popular social media channel in Singapore, it seems to be following the global trend of losing its younger users. He also highlighted the possibility that Messenger - and the combined WhatsApp / Instagram system - could serve as an iMessage-like layer for SMS that would offer more functionality and security.

User growth across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

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