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Facebook surges past earnings forecasts, user base grows
[SAN FRANCISCO] Facebook reported on Wednesday that its profit more than doubled in the final three months of last year as revenues climbed and its user base grew.
In earnings which topped most forecasts, Facebook said it made a net profit of US$3.7 billion on revenue of US$8.6 billion in the fourth quarter, as compared with profit of US$1.6 billion on US$5.6 billion in revenue in the same period a year earlier.
Meanwhile, the number of people using the leading social network monthly increased 17 per cent to 1.86 billion. The ranks of people accessing Facebook from mobile devices each month grew to 1.74 billion, an increase of 21 per cent from the same period a year earlier.
Money taken in from ads on mobile devices accounted for approximately 84 per cent of the social networks overall advertising revenue in the final quarter of last year.
"We believe concerns over user engagement and other social competitors are likely overblown, as few companies share Facebook's combination of scale, strong technology orientation, and platform breath/diversity," Baird research analyst Colin Sebastian said in a note to investors.
Facebook shares were up more than two per cent to 136.31 in after-market trades that followed release of the quarterly earnings figures, which topped market expectations.
"Our business did well in 2016, but we have a lot of work ahead to help bring people together," Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement released along with the earnings figures.
"Our mission to connect the world is more important now than ever."
Under pressure to stymie the spread of fake news, Facebook last month modified its system for showing trending topics.
The change was intended to surface topics quicker, capture a broader range of news, and help ensure that trends reflect real world events being covered by multiple news outlets, Facebook said.
Mark Zuckerberg has sought to deflect criticism that the huge social network may have been used to fuel the spread of misinformation that impacted the 2016 US presidential race.