Wednesday 27 January 2021 9:14 pm

Facebook revenue beats analyst expectations and rises to £28bn in fourth quarter

Revenue at Facebook rose to $26.44bn in the fourth quarter of 2020, up some $7bn on the same time last year.

Facebook beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenue on today, powered by increased ad spending by businesses to capitalise on a holiday shopping season driven online by the pandemic.

Total revenue, which comprised primarily of advertising revenue, rose to $28.07bn in the fourth quarter ended 31 December, from $21.08bn a year earlier.

Analysts on average estimated quarterly revenue of $26.44bn, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Read more: Facebook launches UK news service in boost for publishers

The results validate the company’s foray into e-commerce with Instagram Shopping and Facebook Marketplace that banked on the trend of social shopping, which picked up pace last year as outdoor recreational activity dwindled due to Covid-19 associated curbs.

The company has launched a slew of new e-commerce products such as Facebook Pay and Facebook Shops that enable in-app purchases across the company’s suite of apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp.

Monthly active users rose 12 per cent to 2.80 billion, above the 2.75 billion expected by analysts.

Facebook was plagued with bad press at the start of the year, as Whatsapp, the Facebook-owned messaging app, announced users would have to accept a new privacy policy that included terms that would allow the app to share private data with Facebook.

Whatsapp then delayed the changes to its privacy policy following backlash that saw scores or users flock to rival apps Telegram and Signal.  

Bar-a-lago

Elsewhere, in the first move of its kind, Mark Zuckerberg’s company suspended the former president earlier this month in the hours after an insurrection at the US Capital in Washington DC.

Facebook expressed concerns that Trump’s presence on the social media sites could stoke further civil unrest among supporters.

Trump earlier this month became the first US president in history to be impeached twice, after a majority at the US House of Representatives formally charged him with inciting an insurrection.

Inciting real-life violence is against Facebook’s policies and meets the requirements for a permanent ban.

Facebook initially said it would suspend Trump’s account until at least the end of his presidential term, though it underlined that the ban could last indefinitely.

Facebook’s independent oversight board was created in October last year in response to criticism over the company’s handling of problematic content.

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