Saturday 17 March 2018

Facebook profits triple as half of internet world now uses website

Facebook revealed it has 1.28bn monthly active users

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg

Andrew Trotman

Facebook profits have almost tripled after it revealed that nearly half the world’s internet population uses the social network.

The web giant, founded and run by Mark Zuckerberg, also unveiled a 72pc surge in revenues in a bumper set of first-quarter results on Wednesday that pushed the shares up more than 4pc in after-hours trading on Wall Street.

Boosted by an 82pc year-on-year rise advertising revenues to $2.27bn, Facebook said net profits jumped to $642m, from $219m in the first three months of 2013. Revenues rose to $2.5bn, easily beating the average analyst estimate of $2.36bn.

Facebook revealed that it now has 1.28bn monthly active users, or almost half the world’s internet population, up from 1.23bn last quarter. A billion of these now use their mobile phones to access the social network.

“Facebook’s business is strong and growing, and this quarter was a great start to 2014,” Mr Zuckerberg said in a statement.

 “We’ve made some long-term bets on the future while staying focused on executing and improving our core products and business.

“We’re in great position to continue making progress towards our mission.”

However, Facebook also revealed that David Ebersman, chief financial officer, would step down on June 1 and move back into the healthcare sector. He will be succeeded by by David Wehner, who joined from Zynga in 2012.

When it went public two years ago, Facebook made no money from members accessing their accounts via its mobile website or smartphone apps.

As well as building a mobile advertising business from scratch, Facebook has also sought to guarantee its share of public attention is maintained as the shift from computer screens to smartphones and tablets gathers pace.

The company’s acquisition of the photo sharing app Instagram for $1bn prior to its flotation raised eyebrows but has since been dwarfed by the $19bn deal for the instant messaging app WhatsApp in February.

Mr Zuckerberg has indicated that he intends to keep the two acquisitions as separate brands, as part of a broadening of the company’s focus to cope with the more competitive mobile internet landscape.

Facebook is also expected to expand its non-advertising businesses in the next few quarters and is believed to be preparing an international money transfer service.

Meanwhile, the founder of Zynga, which went public in 2011 on the strength of games such as Farmville on Facebook, is to step back from his role.

Mark Pincus will step down as chief product officer less than a year after he was replaced as the company’s CEO.

Zynga says Mr Pincus will remain chairman

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