Facebook posts $15bn revenue and sets aside $3bn to fight FTC

The social media giant's optimistic financial report was overshadowed by an upcoming privacy probe


Facebook narrowly beat market expectations when it revealed that its revenue for the first three months of 2019 was $15.08bn. The social media giant also said that it would set aside $3bn to cover the legal costs of an investigation from the US Federal Trading Commission (FTC).

Total sales from 1Q19 grew by 26%, while monthly users rose 8% taking the total number to 2.38 billion worldwide, Facebook reported. Advertising revenue was strong in the quarter as well, hitting a revenue of $14.9bn.

"We had a good quarter and our business and community continued to grow," said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

"We are focused on building out our privacy-focused vision for the future of social networking and working collaboratively to address important issues around the internet," he added.

Despite the strong financial reports, Facebook admitted that it expected to pay between $3bn–$5bn as a result of the FTC's upcoming enquiry into its data practices, triggered by last year's Cambridge Analytica scandal. However, as the company has faced a number of subsequent data scandals, most recently exposing 200–600 million passwords in plain text, many would consider a fine of that amount to be a 'win' for Facebook.

Nonetheless, the legal woes of the company has not deterred investors, as shares have risen nearly 40% in the year to date while the broader market was up nearly 5% in late trading on the day Facebook's latest financial report was released.

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