Facebook to launch $6bn share buyback programme from first quarter of next year and accounting chief Jas Athwal to resign in February

Francesca Washtell
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Facebook did not give a reason for launching the share buyback plan (Source: Getty)

Facebook Inc will buy back up to $6bn (£4.8bn) of its shares, starting in the first quarter of next year.

The social media behemoth's board of directors authorised the repurchase programme of Class A common stock, which does not have an expiration date, according to filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Shares were up by around 0.8 per cent in after-hours trading on Saturday, taking the price of its stock to $118 per share, while its market cap was more than $341bn.

Read more: Zuckerberg: Fake news on Facebook did not sway the US election

Facebook also said its chief accounting officer Jas Athwal had resigned after nine years at the company, effective from February, and that it planned to start a search for a replacement. Athwal was formerly the director of revenue at Yahoo.

This week, the firm was put under intense scrutiny again over accusations it has not done enough to stop fake news being circulated on the platform.

Read more: WhoopsApp: Facebook has run into more trouble with data regulators

Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly denied fake news stories on the site had a tangible effect on the outcome of the US presidential election, saying last Sunday "more than 99 per cent of what people see [on Facebook] is authentic".

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