Facebook announced on Wednesday that revenue rose 48 percent to $ 26.2 billion in the first three months of the year, while profits nearly doubled to $ 9.5 billion. This underscores how the social network continued to benefit from it during the pandemic.
Advertising revenue, which makes up the bulk of Facebook revenue, rose 46 percent to $ 25.4 billion. Almost 3.5 billion people now use one of the Facebook apps every month, an increase of 15 percent over the previous year.
The results followed a financial blockbuster performance in 2020 as the pandemic pushed people in ever greater numbers to their computers and other devices – and to the social network and related apps like Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. Facebook was experiencing highs in users and revenue, and its services were in such demand that engineers at times struggled to “keep the lights on”.
Wall Street is now expected to take a close look at Facebook’s advertising business. On Monday, Apple released an update to its mobile software with a new feature that asks users if they don’t want to be tracked by advertisers outside of apps like Facebook. If people choose not to be tracked, it could affect Facebook’s business, which relies on user data to serve ads.
Facebook said Wednesday it expects some challenges to its advertising this year “due to regulatory and platform changes, particularly the recently released iOS 14.5 update that is expected to have an impact in the second quarter.” The company added that the change was incorporated into its financial guidance.
“We had a strong quarter as we’ve helped people stay connected and businesses grow,” Zuckerberg said in a statement. “We will continue to invest aggressively in the coming years to deliver new and meaningful experiences, including in newer areas such as augmented and virtual reality, retail and the creator economy.”
In recent months, Facebook has continued to face criticism for the content flowing through its website, particularly after former President Donald J. Trump used social media to urge supporters to ditch the presidential election results, sparking a mob to storm the Capitol building on January 6th. Facebook cut Mr. Trump off the platform after the uprising, although a final decision has not yet been made on whether to keep him off the site indefinitely.