Profits up at Facebook, with no impact from privacy scandal

Kelley Robertson
April 27, 2018

Daily users are also up, to 1.45 billion.

The audience gains were revealed as part of Facebook's first earnings report since news of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal surfaced last month and upended the company, shaving tens of billions off its market value.

"We believe this is a prudent move to secure the stabilization of user engagement, advertiser confidence and government relations", Mizuho Securities analyst James Lee said.

Facebook shares climbed more than 4.7 percent to $167.33 in after-hours trades that followed the release of the earnings figures.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, who had to testify in front of Congress on the scandal with social media privacy and illegal use of the data, said that Facebook has very good start this year.

On a conference call with investors, Zuckerberg said the company would roll out new tools ahead of elections in Brazil and Mexico.

The Facebook executive replied: "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that".

"What's been a frustration for us in this inquiry is a pattern of behaviour from the company, an unwillingness to engage, and a desire to hold on to information and not disclose it", Collins told Schroepfer.

At least eight brokerages raised their price targets on Facebook stock, while one cut its price on the stock.

Facebook said as many as 87 million users could have unwittingly had their data obtained by political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica through a third-party app. The data debacle came to light late in the quarter, meaning the impact may be felt more in the quarters to come.

The social network is undergoing its worst crisis in its 14-year history as it faces a torrent of criticism about its privacy practices and the way it handles user data. Advertisements on Facebook would carry the label "political ad", and give a link to who bought it. There has not been a meaningful trend since, Sandberg added.

In evidence handed to British politicians on Thursday, Facebook wrote that it found "certain billing and administration connections" between the two firms.

Schroepfer said Facebook was doing its best to provide information as and when it had it, and said the organisation had integrity.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, which has sparked government investigations globally, was mentioned only once on an hour-long conference call between analysts and Facebook management, when one analyst asked Zuckerberg what he learned from testifying in U.S. congressional hearings.

Facebook is close to a deal that would bring CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Brussels to answer questions from members of the European Parliament, according to a report by Politico.

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