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Facebook’s Revenue Rises Again, but More Slowly Than Ever

Facebook’s Revenue Rises Again, but More Slowly Than Ever

SAN FRANCISCO — Even as Facebook has grappled with one company embarrassment after one other, it has remained a enterprise powerhouse.

But on Wednesday, the social community encountered the perils of being an ageing company: It reported its slowest development ever.

Facebook’s income within the final three months of 2019 rose 25 % from a yr earlier to $21 billion, whereas income jumped 7 % to $7.three billion, the Silicon Valley large stated. While the efficiency was sturdy, the income development was down from 28 % within the earlier quarter, turning 2019 right into a yr when the corporate didn’t report gross sales development above 30 % in any quarter.

At virtually 16 years previous, Facebook has matured into a big group that’s more and more grappling with the legislation of huge numbers and decelerating development charges. Wall Street buyers, who’re accustomed to Facebook’s being a rapid-growth firm, despatched its inventory down greater than 7 % in after-hours buying and selling.

It was “the fourth straight quarter that the social media giant has delivered sub-30 percent growth,” stated Jesse Cohen, an analyst at Investing.com, a monetary markets platform, although he added that the enterprise was doing effectively.

Even as development slowed, Facebook managed to wring extra advertising dollars from the tens of millions of advertisers who depend on its service, indicating that it has shrugged off a number of the regulatory issues and aggressive strain which have plagued it in recent times.

“We had a good quarter and a strong end to the year as our community and business continue to grow,” stated Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief government. “We remain focused on building services that help people stay connected to those they care about.”

Profits surged whilst Facebook elevated its spending on safety, analysis and growth, and different areas of the enterprise. Its bills rose to greater than $12 billion within the fourth quarter, up 34 % from a yr earlier. The firm additionally took a cost for settling a class-action lawsuit regarding its biometric information assortment, agreeing to pay $550 million to the plaintiffs.

Mr. Zuckerberg is about to focus this yr on securing the platform within the run-up to the November election, aiming to keep away from being caught off guard with disinformation and overseas interference as the corporate was in 2016. Election safety groups have ballooned at Facebook, which is spending billions of dollars on the hassle.

In a convention name with buyers, Mr. Zuckerberg stated Facebook noticed different enterprise avenues forward. He pointed to Facebook’s long-term bets on expertise like augmented actuality, peer-to-peer funds and different types of commerce inside its apps. On Dec. 25, he stated, clients spent greater than $5 million on content material for the Oculus Quest, which is a virtual-reality headset.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief working officer, stated the corporate was within the “early, early days” of creating wealth from of its hottest providers, like Instagram.

Facebook plans to proceed constructing instruments for small companies to function on the social community, together with a funds infrastructure for manufacturers to deal with purchases on the platform. Other funds initiatives embody including cash switch skills to WhatsApp, the messaging service. Ms. Sandberg stated the corporate was additionally slowly experimenting with several types of adverts in Facebook Messenger.

The firm additionally reported 2.89 billion common customers throughout its household of apps — together with Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook’s core social community — up 9 % from a yr earlier.

Even as the corporate has weathered one controversy after one other, Mr. Zuckerberg stated he didn’t plan to shrink back from addressing contentious points. For instance, he stated this month that Facebook would proceed to permit political campaigns to make use of the location to focus on adverts to particular slices of the voters and that it wouldn’t police the truthfulness of the messages, defying strain from Congress.

“My goal for the next decade isn’t to be liked but to be understood,” Mr. Zuckerberg stated.

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