Unaffected by data breach controversy, Facebook profit hits all-time high

Facebook shrugs off Cambridge Analytica scandal to post 1Q earnings beat

Facebook posts record revenues for first quarter despite privacy scandal

Facebook's quarterly sales rose by almost 50% in the social media giant's first results since a privacy scandal over users' data emerged.

Profit in the first quarter of 2018 jumped 63 percent from a year ago to United States dollars 5 billion, and total revenues increased 49 percent to USD 11.97 billion, Facebook said in an earnings update which topped most analyst forecasts.

Facebook sold $11.8 billion in ads during the first quarter, up 50 percent.

But advertisers have shrugged off the scandals in the aggregate. Monthly active users totaled 2.2 billion and daily active users 1.45 billion, both meeting analysts' expectations of a 13 percent increase from a year ago.

According to the earnings release, Facebook increased its workforce by a massive 48% to 27,742, compared with the year-earlier quarter.

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But Facebook has been facing backlash about how it uses that data since news broke in March that the Trump-linked data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica had gained information on up to 87 million users.

The better-than-expected results propelled Facebook shares 7 percent higher in U.S. after-hours trade, with investors relieved that the social network giant appeared unscathed financially despite getting caught up in a user data misuse controversy. Facebook has over 20 crore users in the country. "If users aren't leaving en masse, advertisers will continue to utilize the Facebook platform to sell their products and services", Haris Anwar, a senior analyst at Investing.com, said in a note before the company reported earnings.

Facebook also said it expected the number of users across Europe to stop growing or even drop as the General Data Protection Regulation, a sweeping set of digital-privacy rules, comes into force on May 25.

The company's net income grew 63 per cent to $US4.99 million, while diluted earnings per share was at $1.69 - also up 63 per cent on the prior corresponding period.

"Most are disturbed at an individual level with what happened, but there's nothing that made Facebook overly toxic - yet", he said. The government has also sought information about the entities working under CA along with the details of their directors.

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

"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.

Sandberg rejected any suggestion that Facebook should diversify its business model away from micro-targeted advertising.

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.

Aside from some rather vague 'we need to do better' statements from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the new advert is the closest the company's come to admitting that it has a serious image issue and that it has substantially strayed from its initial intentions.

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