This week, Facebook announced plans to adapt to users sharing more privately as the leading social network pours money into an ongoing battle with “bad actors” out to misuse its service.
According to reports, the Facebook reported that its quarterly profit climbed in the recently ended quarter, but the social network mired in a spate of controversies gained fewer users than analysts had expected.
Profit beat Wall Street expectations by jumping 9% to $5.14bn on revenue that leapt 33% to $13.7bn in the quarter that ended September 30.
Facebook shares went for a rollercoaster ride in after-market trades as executives disclosed quarterly earnings figures along with challenges and opportunities seen in shifting trends in user behaviour.
The social media network has been trying to fend off concerns about how well it protects user data and defends against the use of the site to spread misinformation aimed at swaying elections. Controversies that have battered Facebook since the 2016 presidential election in the US have raised questions over whether co-founder Mark Zuckerberg should keep his post as chief executive.
“Our community and business continue to grow quickly, and now more than two billion people use at least one of our services every day,” Zuckerberg said in an earnings call, including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger in the count. “We’re building the best services for private messaging and stories, and there are huge opportunities ahead in video and commerce as well.”
Facebook users are shifting fast to sharing more privately with messages or a “Stories” feature for creating short photo or video collections, instead of posting in their main feeds, according to Zuckerberg. While Facebook has made an art of monetizing ads in newsfeeds, it has yet to optimize making money from messages and stories.
“This is one of those situations where the community growth we are seeing is outpacing the progress we made on developing ads in that space,” Zuckerberg said of Stories.
“I think we will get there in time, and opportunity will be bigger, but I can’t tell you what that time frame will look like.”
Facebook is also seeing a rapid rise in viewing videos, which also generate less ad money per minute than newsfeeds.