Facebook solid in Q3 despite public controversies

The social media platform increased revenues 29% year-over-year as public scrutiny grows over the company's ethical responsibilities.

Facebook’s third-quarter earnings show no reflection of the challenges the company has faced publicly in recent years, as advertising revenues continue to keep the social networking giant on solid ground, financially.

Facebook’s total revenue for the three-month period ending Sept. 30, 2019 was $17.65 billion, a 29% increase year-over-year. Much of that was due to advertising revenues, which topped out at $17.38 billion this quarter, representing a 28% increase from $13.54 billion during the same period in 2018.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO said Q3 had been “a busy quarter on a lot of fronts,” during a call to investors.

“This was a good quarter for our community and our business,” Zuckerberg said, noting the Facebook app had a particularly good quarter in Canada and the U.S. An estimated 2.8 billion people use Instagram, Facebook, Messenger or WhatsApp globally.

Facebook’s focus, he went on to say, remains making progress on “major social issues” and “building new experiences.” Zuckerberg testified before Congress last week to answer questions about the Libra currency the company had planned to launch, however much of the hearing turned to the company’s responsibility in advertising and freedom of speech.

Despite Zuckerberg’s widely criticized appearance, the company continues to grow; monthly active users increased 8% year-over-year reaching 2.45 billion. Mobile ad revenue made up 94% of advertising revenue, up from 92% during the same period last year.

The company’s operating margin was up 41% with income from operations totalling $7.18 billion and capital expenditures, $3.68 billion.

Also notable during this quarter’s announcement was the news that Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann would be stepping down from Facebook’s board of directors. Hellman, who joined the board in 2013, is leaving to focus on her role as CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and well as her health and family.