Russia or no Russia, Facebook’s earnings just blasted expectations once again

Still A-okay.
Still A-okay.
Image: Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
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As its top lawyer faced combative lawmakers in Washington DC at hearings on Facebook’s role in Russian interference during the 2016 US election, the company released its latest earnings report card and once again showed that few things can derail its business.

Facebook’s third-quarter revenue grew 47% from the same quarter last year, hitting $10.33 billion, beating analyst expectations. Facebook shares traded at record high earlier in the day, and its stock price was up roughly $1, or 0.5%, in after-hours trading at the time of publishing.

With a $4.7 billion profit, which grew a whopping 79% from last year, the company shows no signs of a  forecasted slowdown, although its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg dampened expectations of continued outperformance. In the company’s official announcement, he was careful to take the current political climate surrounding the company into consideration.

“Our community continues to grow and our business is doing well,” he said in a release. “But none of that matters if our services are used in ways that don’t bring people closer together. We’re serious about preventing abuse on our platforms. We’re investing so much in security that it will impact our profitability. Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits.”

The company’s revenue growth was slightly up this quarter, bucking a yearlong slide:

Facebook’s active monthly user numbers continue to grow, hitting 2.07 billion this fall, after crossing the 2 billion benchmark in the summer.

The company still generates the majority of its revenue in the US and Canada.

Still, the growth of users who log on at least once a month continued to fall, suggesting that unless the company can figure out how to connect the rest of the world to the internet, we may be reaching Facebook saturation. That could prove to be a bigger problem for investors than any new US regulations on ads placed on its platform.