Amid a deluge of devastating news stories, Facebook is still making lots of money.
Facebook said Monday that it brought in $29 billion in revenue in the third quarter, a 35% gain from the $21.5 billion it earned during the same period a year earlier. That was slightly lower than analyst expectations of $29.6 billion.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s third-quarter profits grew 17% year over year to $9.2 billion.
Facebook shares rose 2.2% in after-hours trading to $335.89 as investors discounted another news nugget: The company’s plans to expand its virtual reality unit, which underpins a far-flung “metaverse” initiative, will reduce overall operating profit by $10 billion in 2021.
The social media giant has spent the past few weeks dealing with arguably its biggest crisis since the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018. In late September, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen shared a trove of internal documents with the Wall Street Journal and lawmakers that detailed internal research about the negative effects of the company’s various services on society, such as contributing to poor mental health for some teenage girls.
Haugen later testified in front of lawmakers calling Facebook “morally bankrupt” and that it failed to remedy its alleged problems out of fear that major fixes would curtail its growth. Facebook has denounced Haugen’s claims, with Zuckerberg writing in a Facebook post: “At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That’s just not true.”
On Monday, news outlets revealed more internal Facebook research, with some of the studies showing that teenagers and young adults are losing interest in the company’s service, which is noteworthy because Facebook values that demographic. The newly released research also detailed how the company failed to account for the wave of misinformation and hate speech that flourished in countries like Afghanistan and Myanmar as it looked to spur growth worldwide.
Facebook has denied that it prioritizes engagement over safety.
The company is also reportedly seeking a name change as part of a corporate rebrand, likely intended to distance itself from its bad reputation. There was no immediate mention of that.
In addition to its financials, the company on Monday also reported that it had 2.9 billion monthly active users as of September 2021, slightly below analyst projections of 2.93 billion.
This article will be updated from the company’s call with analysts.
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