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Technology

Facebook posts steady user growth as sales and profit climb

Facebook mural
A man walks by a mural at the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, Calif.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Facebook Inc. reported solid third-quarter results Wednesday showing steady growth in its user base even as it faces broad regulatory threats and criticism over its power and its effects on society.

The social media giant’s profit and sales posted double-digit jumps during the July-through-September quarter. Facebook said it earned $6.09 billion, or $2.12 per share — up 19% from $5.14 billion, or $1.76 per share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue grew to $17.65 billion, up 29% from $13.73 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Analysts on FactSet had expected earnings of $2.11 per share and revenue of $17.37 billion.

Facebook ended the quarter with 2.45 billion monthly users, up 8% from a year earlier. It also said that about 2.8 billion people use at least one of its services — Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram — at least once a month.

“Advertisers continue to support Facebook, despite the many controversies swirling around the company, and the user base also continues to expand around the world,” said EMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson.

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The Menlo Park, Calif., company has had a rough couple of years and is under growing regulatory scrutiny around the world. In the United States it faces several government investigations for alleged anti-competitive behavior, including probes by the Federal Trade Commission and 46 state attorneys general.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg faced prickly questioning from members of Congress last week when he testified about the company’s plans for a digital cryptocurrency.

Facebook’s stock climbed 4% in after-hours trading after the earnings report.

After Facebook said it would let politicians run ads without fact checks, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey said his platform would refuse all political ads.


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