Facebook is still growing regardless of criticism about political advertisements

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Facebook on Wednesday launched its third-quarter profits. It’s still growing.


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Facebook’s enormous marketing service and user base keep growing regardless of a relatively unlimited list of scandals, consisting of criticism over a brand-new policy that enables political leaders to depend on advertisements on the social media.

On Wednesday, Facebook stated that 2.45 billion users visited to the website monthly throughout the 3rd quarter, an uptick of 8% from 2.27 billion regular monthly active users in the very same duration in 2015. The social media’s earnings grew 28% year over year to $17.65 billion in the 3rd quarter, beating expectations of $17.4 billion.

The business made $2.12 per share, above price quotes of $1.91 per share. 

The robust efficiency comes as Facebook slogs through a welter of scandals in locations varying from user personal privacy and security to its function in forming political and social discourse. The business’s hands-off technique to speech from political leaders has actually stimulated criticism from Democrats, civil liberties groups and even its own staff members, all of whom fret that the social media is enabling the spread of false information. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have actually safeguarded the business’s position on political speech, stating Facebook is securing totally free expression.

On Wednesday, right before Facebook launched its profits, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey revealed that his social networks business is preparing to stop all political marketing on Nov. 22 due to the fact that it thinks that “political message reach should be earned, not bought.” On a call with experts, Zuckerberg safeguarded Facebook’s choice to permit political advertisements, keeping in mind that advertisements can be “important part of voice” specifically for prospects and advocacy groups that the media may not cover.

“It’s hard to define where to draw the line,” he stated. “Would we really want to block ads for important political issues like climate change or women’s empowerment?”

Instead, Zuckerberg stated he believed a much better technique was increasing openness around political advertisements. The business approximates that advertisements from political leaders will be less than 0.5% of Facebook’s earnings next year.

He included that with criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, he anticipates a hard year.

“We try to do what we think is right but we’re not going to get everything right. This is complex stuff and anyone who says that the answers are simple hasn’t thought long enough about all the nuances and downstream challenges,” Zuckerberg stated. 

Facebook’s questionable policy, which compares political leaders and 3rd parties, has actually currently been tested. The business left up a deceptive advertisement by President Donald Trump’s reelection project which contained false information about previous Vice President Joe Biden, among the Democratic governmental frontrunners. The advertisement consisted of a 30-2nd video mentioning that Biden had actually assured Ukraine $1 billion if authorities because nation fired a district attorney examining a business on whose board Biden’s child served. The claim has actually been extensively exposed. 


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Over the weekend, Facebook took down an ad posted by The Really Online Lefty League, a political action committee, that falsely claimed Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, had supported the Green New Deal, a proposal to reduce greenhouse gases. Facebook pulled it after a third-party fact checker rated it as false. 

Facebook’s influence is poised to get bigger. The company and its partners are planning to launch a new cryptocurrency called Libra next year, a move that’s drawn scrutiny from lawmakers who fear the digital currency will get abused for money laundering or other crimes. The concerns have grown so great that Zuckerberg was summoned to testify to Congress about the project earlier this month.

The social media giant has been exploring other ways to make money outside of ads. In September, Facebook unveiled a new line of its Portal video calling devices including a version that works with a TV. The company also owns Oculus, a VR company that recently introduced hand tracking for its standalone headset Oculus Quest. 

In addition, Facebook announced that longtime board member Susan Desmond-Hellmann, the CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was stepping down from the company’s board of directors this month. Desmond-Hellmann joined Facebook’s board in 2013 and was the lead independent director. The company plans to name a replacement over the coming months. 

Debra Aho Williamson, a principal analyst for eMarketer, said that she wasn’t surprised by Facebook’s continued growth. 

“Facebook has a lot of challenges it must deal with, but increasing its revenue and user count isn’t one of them,” she said in a statement. 

Originally published Oct. 30, 1:13 p.m. PT
Update, 1:48 p.m. PT: Includes information about Twitter banning political ads, analyst remarks and the departure of a Facebook board member.
Update, 2:29 p.m. PT: Includes remarks from Zuckerberg.

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