Facebook reported its first quarter earnings today. The company brought in just over $8 billion in revenue, a jump of 49 percent since the first quarter of 2016. That gave it a net profit of just over $3 billion, up a whopping 76 percent over the same period last year.
The company now has 1.94 billion monthly active users, up 17 percent from the first quarter of 2016. (Currently, the world population is estimated at 7.5 billion.) It didn’t bother to break out mobile users into a separate category, as it has in the past, a sign that mobile is now the default mode for engaging with Facebook.
Overall, these are stellar but predictable results, a continuation of the momentum the company has displayed over the last year and half. The one quote from CEO Mark Zuckerberg to investors sums up perfectly what a snooze the earnings are. “We had a good start to 2017," he intoned. "We're continuing to build tools to support a strong global community."
It is certainly true that these days Zuckerberg is more worried about the impact his social network is having on society than the possibility that people might get tired of Facebook. He announced today that the company is adding 3,000 moderators to guard against the spread of violent imagery and snuff films. The company is also working to counter state-sponsored misinformation campaigns and fake news, both of which have found Facebook’s News Feed fertile ground for reaching a wide audience.
Facebook is ploughing a lot of its earnings back into research and development. The company spent $1.16 billion on R&D this quarter. It also continues hiring at a furious pace, with headcount up to 18,770, a 38 percent rise from this time last year.