What Russian ads scandal? Facebook Q3 earnings blow away analysts’ predictions

November 01, 2017

Investors are aware that Russians leveraged Facebook’s platforms to try to influence the U.S. election last year. But that hasn’t shaken their confidence in Facebook as a business: The company’s third-quarter earnings clobbered analysts’ predictions.

While analysts had estimated revenues of $9.84 billion and earnings per share of $1.28, the actual numbers were far better: $10.328 billion and $1.59, up 47% and 77% year over year, respectively. As of September 30, Facebook had 2.07 billion monthly active users, up 16% year-over-year, and 1.37 billion daily actives, also up 16% from a year ago.

As has been the company’s trend for several years now, mobile ads accounted for the vast majority of its revenues–88% to be exact, up from 84% in the third quarter of 2016.

Later today, Zuckerberg and other company executives will hold their quarterly earnings conference call with investors. The world will be very interested to hear what, if anything, they say in response to direct questions about the Russian-ads scandal. After all, Zuck will be on the line himself, not just his lawyer.

In a bid to head off some of those questions–good luck with that–Zuckerberg headed the earnings release with a thinly veiled comment on the scandal. “Our community continues to grow and our business is doing well,” he wrote. “But none of that matters if our services are used in ways that don’t bring people closer together. We’re serious about preventing abuse on our platforms. We’re investing so much in security that it will impact our profitability. Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits.”

One wonders if Facebook’s investors agree with that sentiment. But as indicated by today’s earnings report, they don’t have to worry about it right now.



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