Facebook saw its quarterly profit rise 79% with revenues up nearly 50% in the third quarter as marketers poured money into Facebook’s mobile advertising offerings.
The social network’s power to target and influence users has come under the spotlight by the US election scandal. The political storm in the United States over how Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet’s Google handle false news stories and political manipulation of their services gathered strength this week as three separate congressional committees held hearings.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, said that spending would include 10,000 additional people to review content on the network, though based on past practice many of those people will be contractors.
The spending would hit profits, Facebook said, with expenses expected to grow by 45 per cent to 60 per cent next year.
“What they did is wrong, and we are not going to stand for it,” Mr Zuckerberg said of the Russians, on a conference call with analysts.
In a series of disclosures over two months, Facebook has said that people in Russia bought at least 3,000 US political ads and published another 80,000 Facebook posts that were seen by as many as 126 million Americans over two years. Russia denies any meddling.
Mobile ads dominate
Facebook’s total advertising revenue rose 49% in the third quarter to $10.14bn, about 88% of which came from mobile ads.
Facebook in the third quarter gave advertisers for the first time the ability to run ads in standalone videos, outside the Facebook News Feed, and the company is seeing good early results.
Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, said: Video is exploding, and mobile video advertising is a big opportunity. More than 70 per cent of ad breaks up to 15 seconds long were viewed to completion, most with the sound on.”
Facebook has been warning for more than a year about reaching a limit in “ad load”, or the number of ads the company can feature in users’ pages before crowding their News Feed.