Facebook posted $3.6 billion in profit in the last three months of 2016… $4.3 billion in Q4 2017… and $6.9 billion in Q4 2018.
And if that’s not impressive enough, there’s this: FB “now has 1.52 billion people who use the social network every single day, and 2.32 billion who use it every month, both of which are up 9% from the year prior,” CNN’s Seth Fiegerman wrote Wednesday. His takeaway from the earnings: “Facebook’s endless PR crises don’t appear to be hurting its bottom line.”
Here’s how other sites are framing it: “Users aren’t abandoning the company in large numbers even as its data-privacy practices have been under attack,” the WSJ wrote. “Facebook keeps growing despite scandals and privacy outrage,” The Verge wrote.
FB moving back onto offense?
Until 4 p.m. ET, the company was having another bruising day, full of headlines about this controversial market research app. Apple said the app violated its policies.
But the earnings report allowed Mark Zuckerberg to, on the earnings call, say things like “we’ve started to turn a corner and have a clear plan for what we need to do now.” He also remarked that “there’s a lot of negativity about technology,” saying “Some of it is fair,” but “some of it is misplaced.”
Usage in U.S. & Canada remains flat
The company’s daily active user # in the United States and Canada has remained stagnant at 185 million since mid-2017… In Q4 2018, it ticked up just slightly to 186 million…
The real test: Do your family members still log into FB?
My family does. How about yours? “People love talking about the death of Facebook only being partially offset by the rise of Instagram,” BTIG’s Rich Greenfield commented to me Wednesday night. “But it’s far harder to leave Facebook than most on Wall Street and the broader tech/media community realize — the proof is the robust 30% revenue growth Facebook delivered as advertisers continue to follow eyeballs, with Facebook’s CFO implying core (blue) Facebook usage is relatively stable.”
Still a “vast” list of problems
“While 4Q18 was certainly favorable,” Brian Wieser wrote to investors Wednesday night, “nothing in the results should cause investors to look at the company in a meaningfully different way vs. previously… The list of problems the company is grappling with is vast, and the shapes of solutions are unclear…