Social media giant Facebook posted a record quarterly profit this week despite a year filled with user data breaches and company scandals.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook has posted a record quarterly profit, reporting per-share earnings of $2.38 in the fourth quarter; up from $1.44 last year and beating Wall Street analysts projects of $2.18. The company’s overall net income also rose from $4.27 billion to $6.88 billion while revenue rose by 30 percent to $16.91 billion beating expectations of $16.40 billion. The percentage increase was, however, Facebook’s slowest revenue growth yet.
Facebook stock rose by approximately 7 percent to about $161 in after-hours trading following the release of the earnings report. This was a much-needed boost for Facebook’s stock which fell by 34 percent since the company’s earnings call in July in which it predicted slow revenue growth and an increase in expenses due to its investment in security measures following multiple user data breaches. Facebook expects to see great success in the advertising this year, owning approximately 20.5 percent of the digital ad-market while Alphabet Inc.’s Google, is expected to own around 31.3 percent of the market.
Facebook faces a tough year ahead in terms of public perception however, with many Facebook users beginning to worry about the safety of their personal details on the website following multiple data breaches. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg appeared at the DLD conference in Munich recently where she stated that she “understands the deep responsibilities we have,” as the platform attempts to regain their users trust following a full year of user data leak scandals.
“At Facebook, these last few years have been difficult,” Sandberg said during her speech at the conference. “We need to stop abuse more quickly and we need to do better to protect people’s data. We have acknowledged our mistakes.” Sandberg stated that as the company “reflects and learns,” there are a number of actions that the company can take to regain their users’ trust.
Sandberg stated that the company can work on investing in the platform’s safety and security; taking further steps to protect against election interference; focusing on removing fake accounts and fake information from the platform; increasing transparency at the company and finally, helping users feel as if they have control over their own personal information.
Sandberg still seems positive about the future of the company, stating that: “We have to [take action] because so many people use technology for good,” and adding that Facebook has become one of the largest job creation platforms in the world. Sandberg definitively stated that Facebook was “far from done.”