Facebook reports fastest quarterly growth in five years

  • Social media company beats forecasts and hits $29bn revenue
  • Network condemned for allowing vaccine misinformation

Last modified on Wed 28 Jul 2021 17.15 EDT

Facebook saw its fastest growth this quarter since 2016, the company revealed in its earnings report on Wednesday, despite regulatory concerns and criticisms surrounding misinformation on the platform.

The social media company’s overall revenue hit $29bn, above forecasts of $27.89bn, and its profits doubled from a year earlier to $10.39bn thanks to a boom in online advertising.

Facebook’s growth in 2021 has remained strong despite potential regulatory headwinds, including aggressive criticism from the Biden administration in recent weeks. Its daily active users in quarter two rose to nearly 2.9bn from 2.7bn users this time last year.

The report released Wednesday indicates “another blockbuster quarter” for the tech giant, said Jesse Cohen, senior analyst at Investing.com.

“The impressive report further highlights our view that Facebook continues to lead the industry in all of the categories they compete in and are executing flawlessly on all front,” Cohen said.

Facebook’s strong performance follows record-setting financial reports in recent days from Apple, Microsoft, Tesla and Google parent Alphabet. Amazon reports its results on Thursday.

The report comes after Facebook announced a renewed commitment to a “metaverse” project – which involves using artificial reality and virtual reality to allow users to inhabit digital worlds together. It has also recently announced it will pay $1bn to creators over the next year in an effort to foster more original content on the platform.

“We had a strong quarter as we continue to help businesses grow and people stay connected,” co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “I’m excited to see our major initiatives around creators and community, commerce, and building the next computing platform coming together to start to bring the vision of the metaverse to life.”

Still, the company has mounting regulatory hurdles to address. In recent weeks, Joe Biden condemned Facebook and other tech companies for failing to take action against vaccine misinformation and Democratic senator Amy Klobuchar introduced a bill targeting the issue that could spell legal trouble for Facebook.

Facebook also faces imminent threats from the Federal Trade Commission, whose new chair, Lina Khan, has been a vocal critic of the platform in the past and has pledged to take action against tech monopolies.

“Growing regulatory concerns and mounting antitrust scrutiny will be major headwinds for Facebook in the months ahead as the Biden administration has made it clear it wants to rein in big tech,” Cohen said.

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