Government Slams Facebook And CA With Second Notice Over Cryptic Response

Facebook shrugs off Cambridge Analytica scandal to post 1Q earnings beat

Profit in the first quarter of 2018 leapt 63% from a year ago to $5 billion, and total revenues increased 49% to $11.97 billion, Facebook said in an earnings update which topped most analyst forecasts. It's also rolling out ad transparency tools giving users the ability to see who is running a political ad, who they're targeting, how much they're paying and what other messages they're sending out.

Cambridge Analytica is alleged to have inappropriately acquired and mishandled the personal data of tens of millions of Facebook users, capturing their information through a popular personality quiz. It also reported a 13 percent rise in monthly users - 2.20 billion - as of March 31.

Facebook said it ended the first quarter with 27,742 employees, up 48 percent from a year earlier. "This means continuing to invest heavily in safety, security and privacy".

In March, towards the end of Facebook's reporting period, the company was caught up in a massive privacy scandal involving the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Despite gains Wednesday, Facebook's stock has slid 17 percent since an all-time high in February.

Yet despite the challenges, Facebook's extensive role in advertising strategies was made apparent in the quarterly results. ".It is self-evident that apart from being very cryptic, the unstated intention was to hide more than reveal,"said the latest notice to Cambridge Analytica".

Facebook has repeatedly said that the business hasn't been affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and that certainly seemed to be the case with user numbers jumping in the opening three months of 2018. That's despite a #deleteFacebook movement encouraged defections in wake of not only privacy problems but concerns about widespread abuse on the platform, including the fake news misinformation campaigns dating to before the 2016 presidential election.

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"People want [Facebook] to be more about friends and family and less about content consumption", he said.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO, played down concerns about the impact of the data crisis on the company's core advertising business.

David Wehner, Facebook's CFO, said Wednesday that the law, called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), could cause user growth in Europe to stall or decline slightly quarter over quarter.

Facebook eventually suspended Cambridge Analytica, after the data scandal came to light in mid-March.

Sandberg rejected any suggestion that Facebook should diversify its business model away from micro-targeted advertising.

Stoked by fears that the data may have been used to try and influence elections in the United States and Europe and the discovery that Facebook collects a lot more data than the average person realises (including web browsing history and, in some cases, text messages), some users have started a #DeleteFacebook movement, including the co-founder of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

The European Parliament last week demanded Zuckerberg appear in person to answer questions about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, rejecting his offer to send a more junior executive in his place.

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