Facebook revenues up 47% while net profit grows by 79%

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook still remains a huge magnet, attracting users worldwide as the company added 284 monthly active users in the last four quarters, finishing the fourth quarter with 2.072 billion users, a growth rate of 16% year-over-year. Expenses rose to $5.2 billion from $3.9 billion in the same quarter a year ago, and headcount at the company was up 47 percent to 23,165 employees. Meanwhile, profits were up 79 per cent YoY.

The company's growth doesn't matter "if our services are used in a way that doesn't bring people closer together or if the foundation of our society is undermined by foreign interference", he said on a call with investors to discuss Facebook's quarterly earnings report.

"I'm dead serious about this, and the reason I'm talking about this on our earnings call is that I've directed our teams to invest so much in security - on top of the other investments we're making - that it will significantly impact our profitability going forward, and I wanted our investors to hear that directly from me", Zuckerberg said.

Protecting the Facebook community is more important than "maximizing our profits," Zuckerberg said on the call. "I've expressed how upset I am that the Russians tried to use our tools to sow mistrust". "We're bringing the same intensity to these security issues that we've brought to any adversary or challenge that we've faced", Zuckerberg said. Daily active users amount to 1.37bn, up 16pc on past year.

Colin Stretch, Facebook's General Counsel, also admitted that the platform could not track all the 5m advertisers using it every month. "Recent projects like avoiding further ad saturation on the News Feed with ads on Instant Articles and Videos, and the platforms ever increasing 2bn user base makes it prime for rising digital ad revenue spend", said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO at social media analytics firm Socialbakers.

Perhaps most curious was that these duplicate accounts weren't fake or bots - they were legitimate accounts owned by users who already had an account, with "real activity and engagement" on the platform. "However, the company must remain mindful of oversaturation and subsequently irritating users", he continued.

Facebook Inc (FB) revenue from advertising, which increased 49%, has been the major contributor of Facebook Inc (FB)'s overall revenue. The introduction of the Stories function is enhancing its relevance among brands and will continue to galvanise market share in the photo sharing arena.

Lawmakers were quick to say it appeared Facebook's first priority was its business as opposed to national security.

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