Facebook’s profits surge as users flock to social network

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Facebook has not faced any prosecutions over data sharing with Cambridge Analytica Facebook’s profits have surged for the first time in a year, up 17% to $7.1bn (£5.2bn)….

Facebook's profits surge as users flock to social network

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Facebook has not faced any prosecutions over data sharing with Cambridge Analytica

Facebook’s profits have surged for the first time in a year, up 17% to $7.1bn (£5.2bn).

Revenues rose 25% to $12.9bn, boosted by a growth in users.

Facebook’s total monthly users are now 2.1 billion and its mobile daily users rose 19% to 1.4 billion.

Its failure to prevent the misuse of personal data by Cambridge Analytica contributed to a media storm that has cost it reputation and trust.

It has since agreed to an investigation by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) into how it used the data held by apps – following an earlier settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission.

But Facebook said user data was used appropriately.

“By any reasonable metric, we are on a good trajectory,” said Mark Zuckerberg, who became CEO of the social network in 2004.

Image copyright Alamy Stock Photo Image caption Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has faced questions over data misuse

The company has not faced any prosecutions over the scandal.

Its quarterly report, filed on Friday, confirmed the firm’s first-quarter profits doubled to $4.1bn. Revenue reached $12.9bn, up from $9.8bn a year earlier.

“This is a strong report as we continue to grow revenue and user and engagement at a healthy rate,” Mr Zuckerberg told journalists.

He said he expected ads to generate the majority of Facebook’s earnings going forward.

In a tweet posted a few hours before Facebook released its financial results, Mr Zuckerberg said: “Even after tough first quarter, we have a lot more good to do – including with security.”

Image copyright AP Image caption Facebook was targeted by digital propaganda groups from Russia and Macedonia in the 2016 EU referendum

Facebook’s first-quarter net income was boosted by an accounting shift in the tax rate caused by the US tax reform.

This led to a tax benefit of $4.4bn in the first quarter of 2018.

Last year, Facebook also took a $3.4bn tax charge.

Facebook said on Friday that its active user base increased to 1.3 billion at the end of March – while mobile users rose to 1.49 billion.

Its growth has been offset by the slow-down in growth in some countries. For example, the US and Canada saw only 2% growth in monthly users and 6% in mobile users.

In the UK, Facebook’s advertising revenue growth fell from 23% a year earlier to 16%.

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