Facebook beats Wall Street's revenue estimates, shares rise

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

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

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

Facebook further reported 2.20 billion monthly users, and a mobile advertising revenue that represented approximately 91 percent of the company's total advertising revenue for Q1 2018.

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

Cambridge Analytica is alleged to have inappropriately acquired and mishandled the personal data of tens of millions of Facebook users, capturing their information through a popular personality quiz.

The number of daily active users for Facebook was 1.45 billion on average for March 2018 - and increase of 13 per cent year on year. Facebook has 27,742 employees, up 48 per cent from previous year. The company's operating expenses came in below consensus expectations, though Zuckerberg has warned they will continue to eat into Facebook's profits as it adds 20,000 workers to address security and privacy concerns.

Zuckerberg faced questioning in two congressional panels earlier this month about revelations that personal data on 87 million users was harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy working for Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

Facebook's stock rose more than 4 percent in after-hours trading.

Despite the strong results, Facebook shares closed unmoved Wednesday.

Taking a tough stance against Cambridge Analytica's "unsatisfactory, cryptic and evasive" response to its first notice, the latest government notice has also asked the company to "responding fully, adequately and transparently" to the earlier queries with more details.

In the wake of the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal and questions around its ability to impact elections, Facebook's been trying to reassure both users and governments that it takes its responsibilities seriously.

Zuckerberg previously said he supported the new regulation "in spirit, " and noted that the social media giant had added privacy settings for all users worldwide that complied with the European Union rule. Facebook CFO David Wehner said that the company has recorded this hiring initiative under "sales and marketing", which he noted grew 51% year-over-year to $1.6 billion because of the "community investment" and "safety initiatives". "To each query, the company that faces probes in different parts of the world for illegal data mining, has provided one line answers which don't explain anything or provide any assurances". But don't expect any sweeping changes to the company's ad business yet.

Facebook's stock has been battered over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, dropping nearly 18% in late March from its $185 pre-crisis peak. A handful of advertisers, including Mozilla, maker of internet browser Firefox, pulled their ads from Facebook.

"Cambridge Analytica's research showed that the personality types licensed by the Kogan data underperformed when compared to more traditional ways of grouping people by demographics", Mitchell said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Early this month, Zuckerberg fended off questions from U.S. senators about how the organisation could be regulated more closely.

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