Despite Controversies, Facebook Posts Huge Revenue Gain - eMarketer

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Despite Controversies, Facebook Posts Huge Revenue Gain

As with Google, content issues don’t seem to dent ad revenue

May 4, 2017

Facebook’s revenue soared 49% in the first quarter even as the social giant faced what seemed to be serious challenges over controversial content on its platform.

The results came days after Google parent Alphabet also posted strong revenue gains—it too powering past controversies over questionable content.

Taken together, the results underscore the sheer power of Facebook and Google. eMarketer estimates that the companies’ combined share of total US digital advertising revenues will surpass 60% in 2017.

Earlier in the day, Facebook addressed mounting concerns that it has been too slow to respond to problematic content posted on its platforms, including live videos of murders and suicides. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will hire an additional 3,000 people to review videos and other posts, with an aim toward speeding responses to problem posts.

Facebook Users and Penetration Worldwide, 2015-2020 (billions, % change and % of internet users)

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said: “We’re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner—whether that’s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down. This is important. Just last week, we got a report that someone on Live was considering suicide. We immediately reached out to law enforcement, and they were able to prevent him from hurting himself. In other cases, we weren’t so fortunate.”

The sheer size of Facebook’s user group is part of the challenge. eMarketer estimates that the number of Facebook users worldwide will reach 1.44 billion in 2017.

As large as Facebook is, it is still adding a healthy number of users each year. eMarketer expects the total to grow by 7.9% this year, and by 6.4% next year.

Rimma Kats

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