Despite what seems like a never-ending string of scandals, Facebook’s fourth-quarter earnings still managed to beat analyst estimates.
For the quarter ended December 31, the social giant reported revenue of $16.9 billion -- up about 30%, year-over-year. Analysts say the impressive performance has everything to do with Facebook’s unrivaled engagement.
“Facebook’s strong finish to 2018 … speaks to the strength of its engagement, ad offering and ability to drive earnings power,” Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak said in a note to investors.
Nowak also credited Facebook for “aggressively investing to improve its platform safety … security, product offerings, and monetization.”
During the period, mobile ad revenue made up 93% of Facebook’s total ad revenue -- up from about 89% in the fourth quarter of 2017. On average, daily active users (DAUs) just surpassed 1.5 billion in December 2018, which represented a 9% increase, year-over-year.Monthly active users totaled 2.32 billion as of December 31, which also represented a 9% increase, year-over-year.
Despite some margin restructuring, Facebook grew its workforce by 42% over the past year. At the end of 2018, the tech titan reported 35,587 employees around the world.
For Facebook, rarely a week goes by with some privacy-related controversy bubbling up to the surface.
This week, the company once again found itself in the hot seat for distributing a virtual private network that allowed it to access users’ mobile and web data.
As Morgan Stanley’s Nowak acknowledged, Facebook is taking the matter of user privacy more seriously.
Just this week, the company hired several top privacy lawyers, including Nate Cardozo, who is leaving the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to manage privacy at Facebook’s WhatsApp unit.