Facebook’s financials appeared unaffected by a series of privacy-related issues in 2018.
The social media giant reported net income of $22 billion for the year ended 31 December 2018, up 39 per cent year-on-year. Total revenue was $56 billion, up 37 per cent compared with 2017, with almost all of it coming from advertisements.
Most recently it was revealed the company was paying users to download an app so it could snoop on their phone activity.
This was immediately followed by news Apple shutdown Facebook’s ability to distribute internal iOS apps to its employees.
Acknowledging this, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on an earnings call “most of our focus and energy has gone into” issues including “safety and security, data privacy and digital well-being”.
The executive added “there is a lot more to do, and I expect it will take strong execution through 2019 and beyond before we get all our systems to the level that we need.”
He also stated the company invested billions of dollars in security, which affected its profitability.
The company estimated there are now 2.7 billion people using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger each month.
Facebook’s net income for Q4 2018 was $6.8 billion, up 61 per cent year-on-year. Mobile advertising revenue was $15.5 billion, up 36 per cent and contributing approximately 93 per cent to total ad revenue.
Facebook now has 7 million active advertisers across its service.
COO Sheryl Sandberg also touched on the security issues, stating: “Protecting people’s privacy and showing them relevant ads are not at odds. We don’t sell your data and we don’t tell advertisers who you are”.
The company revealed 2 million advertisers are using the Stories feature to reach customers across Facebook’s family of apps and it has developed new artificial intelligence ranking models to help people see more relevant adverts.Subscribe to our daily newsletter