Threats phoned into several Michigan high schools

Facebook reports 4Q profit, user growth despite challenges

Barbara Ortutay
AP Technology Writer

San Francisco – Facebook’s profit and revenue for the last three months of 2019 handily surpassed Wall Street’s expectations, as the company made more money on advertising and added more users despite challenges it faces around regulation and efforts to fight election interference.

The company has had a rough couple of years and is under growing regulatory scrutiny around the world. In the U.S., it faces several government investigations for alleged anti-competitive behavior. Last August, it was fined $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations, the largest FTC fine ever for a tech company.

“This is a company that has shown that it can withstand ongoing criticism of its practices and yet still pull out gains in both revenue and users,” said eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson.

Facebook said Wednesday it earned $7.35 billion, or $2.56 per share, up 7% percent from $6.88 billion, or $2.38 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 25% to $21.1 billion from $16.9 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of $2.52 per share and revenue of $20.9 billion, according to FactSet.

The Menlo Park, California-based company had 2.5 billion monthly users at the end of the year, up 8% from a year earlier.

Facebook’s stock dropped more than 6% in after-hours trading after the results came out, even though the numbers were better than expected.