Facebook warns of privacy hurdles ahead as revenue surges

26 April, 2018, 12:44 | Author: Grady King
  • Facebook

More than 1.45 billion people check Facebook at least once a day, and the company said it has 2.2 billion monthly users, representing a 13 per cent spike from the same time a year earlier. It's also rolling out ad transparency tools giving users the ability to see who is running a political ad, who they're targeting, how much they're paying and what other messages they're sending out. While the Facebook Chairman Mark Zuckerberg admitted that data of 5.62 lakh may have been used in an unauthorised manner, the Cambridge Analytica said that it does not have any Facebook data on Indian citizens.

The company saw the number of monthly active users increase to 2.2bn, 13 percent higher than in the first three months of 2017. Its headcount stood at just under 28,000 at the end of March - 48% higher than this time a year ago.

"While privacy and security are very serious issues that Facebook is rightly focusing on, as long as the return-on-investment is there, advertisers won't stop investing in Facebook altogether", he said.

The quarterly report was a breath of fresh air for the beleaguered social media giant, which has faced mounting criticism in the past few weeks over its role in a massive and still unfolding scandal involving political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which ran data operations for President Trump's campaign in 2016.

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Facebook shares jumped more than 5% in after hours trading after ending the regular session flat at $US159 ahead of the post close release of the results.

After finding the first replies from CA "cryptic and evasive", the government has sought further responses from the data mining company for five more posers from the company. In total, 87 million users were affected.

Zuckerberg previously said he supported the new regulation "in spirit, " and noted that the social media giant had added privacy settings for all users worldwide that complied with the European Union rule. "To each query, the company that faces probes in different parts of the world for illegal data mining, has provided one line answers which don't explain anything or provide any assurances".

First quarter profits also grew, reaching $4.9bn compared to $3bn previous year. "Facebook makes a lot of advertising money off this".

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Perhaps the biggest surprise is the growth in Facebook's user base, despite #deleteFacebook, a movement spurring users to leave the social network and recently energized by the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, which has sparked government investigations globally, was mentioned only once on an hour-long conference call between analysts and Facebook management, when one analyst asked Zuckerberg what he learned from testifying in US congressional hearings.

"That's what makes Facebook so important to so many people, and that's our responsibility too", said Zuckerberg.

Steps outlined by Zuckerberg to address these areas include restricting the data developers can access; building more artificial intelligence tools to detect and remove fake accounts ahead of elections in both the USA and Europe last year, and doubling the headcount working on security and content review to more than 20,000 by the end of this year.

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