LONDON: Facebook said quarterly profit climbed to $6.9 billion as its ranks of users continued to grow despite scandals that have dented the leading social network’s image.
Revenue soared 30 percent from a year ago to $16.9 billion while the number of people using it monthly rose nine percent to 2.32 billion, Facebook said in its fourth quarter update.
Net profit for Facebook, which makes money from online advertising, was up a strong 61 percent from the same period last year.
“Our community and business continue to grow,” co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in an earnings release.
Facebook shares jumped 7.7 percent to $161.99 in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings.
Costs at the California-based internet colossus rocketed 62 percent in the quarter as it continued to spend heavily in people and artificial intelligence to guard against manipulation, misinformation, and mis-use of people’s data.
The number of employees as of December 31 was 35,587, an increase of 42 percent year-over-year.
“We’ve fundamentally changed how we run our company to focus on the biggest social issues, and we’re investing more to build new and inspiring ways for people to connect,” Zuckerberg said.
The latest report showed Facebook increased its user base both in the United States and Europe, where the social network has faced challenges over data protection scandals.
Industry tracker eMarketer expects Facebook’s share of the global digital ad market to grow this year. The social network claims 20.5 percent of an overall $327.28 billion spent.
But analysts say the trust issue is crucial for Facebook if it wants to move forward on its mission to connect the world.