Despite worries about Russia and that passive News Feed scrolling hurts us, Facebook beat expectations again in its Q4 2017 earnings report. Facebook now has 1.4 billion daily users, up 2.18% compared to growing 3.8% to 1.37 billion users in Q3. That’s a sizeable slow down. It reached $12.97 billion in revenue with $2.21 GAAP earnings per share if you don’t count a massive tax it had to pay on overseas cash, beating Wall Street’s estimates of $12.55 billion in revenue and $1.95 EPS.
Facebook’s monthly user count is now at 2.13 billion, up 3.39% from 2.06 billion in Q3 compared to 3.19% growth that quarter.
Overall, the results show how divorced Facebook’s user behavior is from the day-to-day news coverage blasting it for allowing Russian interference in US elections and for making us unhealthy zombie browsers. ComScore and Nielsen claim time spent on Facebook per U.S. user is declining, but Facebook seems to be making up for that in international growth and squeezing more dollars out of each ad.
With the Snapchat threat largely neutralized via Instagram, Facebook’s biggest enemy is itself. Now it has to work to preemptively disarm any future privacy crises or other scandals, and co-opt the “Time Well Spent” rallying call before it becomes a “Time to leave Facebook” movement.