Facebook revenue soars despite data privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits the company "didn't do enough."

Facebook’s revenue soared in Q1 and it continued to add new users in its first earnings report since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The social media giant reported a 49 percent year-on-year increase in revenue. Daily active users were at 1.45 billion on average for March 2018, while monthly hit 2.2 billion. The growth was mainly due to people joining from Indonesia. Both represent an increase of 13 percent compared with the same time last year.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the results, but said there is still much work to be done and admitted "we didn’t do enough to prevent the tools from being used for bad."

He said: "Despite facing important challenges, our community and business are off to a strong start in 2018.

"We are taking a broader view of our responsibility and investing to make sure our services are used for good. But we also need to keep building new tools to help people connect, strengthen our communities, and bring the world closer together."

Zuckerberg said 2018 is a year of important investment to keep people safe. The company is developing new tools to assist safety, security and privacy. In addition, Facebook is building  AI tools to help take down fake accounts.

Away from Facebook, Zuckerberg welcomed news that now 100 billion messages are shared every day on WhatsApp and Messenger.

The firm will continue to develop ecosystems around apps like Instagram to aid businesses. Asked where he sees the future of Instagram, Zuckerberg said he’s seen interesting patterns in how the community is used.

He said that while there is no formal Groups product on Instagram, more than two million people use Explore to interact with people and search content outside their friendship group.

Hashtag following, which was launched in December, has also proven wildly popular with more than 100 million people follow hashtags. He’s also noticed an increase in the use of private stories. Zuckerberg will be looking to capitalize on these trends. 

The strong quarter is of stark contrast to the end of 2017.

Facebook’s daily active user numbers dropped by 700,000 in the US and Canada in the last quarter.

Further, time spent on the platform dropped by 50 million hours everyday, or five percent of total time spent.

But the social media network's advertising revenue was still growing strongly at 49 percent for the financial year, taking in $39.9 billion.

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