Facebook once again surprise investors and analysts with strong quarterly results

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    Facebook Inc (FB) shares rose nearly 8 percent in the after-hours trading session on Wednesday after the world’s biggest social network surprisingly announced a 63 percent increase in its first quarter earnings, driven by strong growth in mobile ad business.

    Its earnings report showed no sign that its business was hurt by the Cambridge Analytica scandal regarding mishandling of personal information of up to 87 million users. Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly apologized during his hearing in front of the United States Congress following the scandal.

    Monthly active users jumped to 2.2 billion in the first quarter, representing a surge of 13 percent from the comparable quarter last year, and in line with the analysts’ expectations.

    Facebook has been facing criticism regarding mishandling of users personal data and its role in elections. However, the company is spending more to ensure its user base is not hurt by scandals.

    Speaking to Investors during a conference call, CFO David Wehner said the company’s spending related to the safety and security of its users will increase in a range of 50-60 percent this year, higher from an earlier range of 45-60 percent, as a part of its efforts to identify and delete fake accounts, control hate speech and take out violent content.

    Overall, the social network giant reported net income of $4.99 billion, or $1.69 a share for the first quarter, well above $3.06 billion, or $1.04 a share in the same period last year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of $1.35 a share.

    Revenue for the quarter came in at $11.97 billion, easily beating consensus forecast of $11.41 billion.

    Facebook and Alphabet Inc. are the two dominant players in the internet ad business across the globe. Research firm eMarketer expects Facebook to grab 18 percent of global digital ad revenue in 2018, as compared to Alphabet’s 31 percent.

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