Facebook exposes brand-new FTC examination as Q2 incomes reveal ongoing development


Revealed: The Secrets our Clients Used to Earn $3 Billion

It’s a huge thumbs-up for Facebook when it concerns drawing in and keeping users.

James Martin/CNET

Facebook stated Wednesday that the Federal Trade Commission opened an antitrust examination into the business, however the increased regulative examination does not appear to have actually decreased the social media network’s development.

The brand-new examination began the very same day that the Federal Trade Commission revealed that it was striking Facebook with a record $5 billion fine for its earlier personal privacy accidents. It likewise comes a day after the United States Department of Justice stated it was checking out anti-competition issues surrounding “market-leading online platforms,” such as social networks companies, recommending that the evaluation would affect Facebook. 

Still, Facebook revealed that users continue to log into the website in enormous numbers. The world’s biggest social media network stated that 2.41 billion individuals now log into Facebook each month, an 8% boost compared to the very same duration in 2015. 

Facebook reported $16.9 billion in income in the 2nd quarter, which ranged from April to June. That’s above the $16.5 billion that experts surveyed by Thomson Reuters anticipated typically.

The social media network made $2.6 billion in the 2nd quarter. It made 91 cents per share, disappointing expectations of $1.85. It stated that the incomes consisted of a number of costs such as the legal expenses of the FTC settlement.

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Facebook revealed little about the new FTC investigation, which it was notified of in June. The FTC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg didn’t address the antitrust concerns in a call with analysts, but vowed to protect user privacy and monitor developers who access data through Facebook’s platform.

“This is a major shift for us,” he said. “We’ve built services that billions of people trust every day to communicate with the people they care about. Privacy has always been important to the services we provide and now it’s even more central to our future vision for social networking.”

Facebook is expecting people to share more in the social network’s private spaces such as messaging, groups and Stories, a feature that lets you post photos and videos that vanish in 24 hours. At the same time, the company has been expanding into payments, virtual reality, e-commerce, cryptocurrency and other areas. 

Earlier in the day, Facebook agreed to form a new board committee to help protect user privacy as part of a separate settlement with the FTC. The fine is the largest ever against a company for mishandling of consumer privacy, the FTC said. Lawmakers and advocacy groups argue that the deal didn’t address the core problem: Facebook’s ad business relies on collecting user data.

The FTC has been investigating the company since revelations last year that UK political consultant firm Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of up to 87 million users without their consent. The firm, which worked on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, got the data through the owner of a quiz app that scraped information from Facebook users and their friends. 

The deal isn’t the end of the scrutiny that Facebook is facing from regulators in the US and abroad. The social network is also planning to launch a new cryptocurrency called Libra in 2020, a move that sparked a backlash from lawmakers and nonprofits that think the company should temporarily halt these efforts. 

Zuckerberg said that the company will work with regulators before launching the cryptocurrency.

“We get that these are really important sensitive spaces so our approach has been to try to have a very open dialogue about it,” he said. “Facebook from a few years ago would have probably just showed up and released a product on our own.”

Facebook’s stock jumped more than 1% but then dipped after the company’s CFO Dave Wehner said that the company expected revenue growth to slow in the fourth quarter and in 2020 because of a European data protection law, changes to operating systems and product changes that “put privacy more front and center.” 

The company’s stock is still up less than 1% in after-hours trading to $206.10 per share.

Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst with eMarketer, said in a statement that advertisers are still on Facebook because of its massive audience and ad targeting. Still, they’re also paying more attention to the social network’s problems. 

“Today’s FTC settlement doesn’t appear to have direct impact on Facebook’s business, but there is no reason to think that other regulatory or governmental investigations won’t have an impact in the future,” she said.

Originally published July 24, 1:15 p.m. PT
Update, 1:21 p.m. PT: Adds background about FTC antitrust investigation and statement from Zuckerberg.
Update, 3:36 p.m. PT: Adds comments from earnings call and remarks from analyst. 

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