In the tech world, the big keep getting bigger.
Facebook’s revenue for the second quarter of 2021 jumped 56%, to $29.08 billion, while its net profit doubled to $10.4 billion — smashing analyst expectations.
For Facebook, daily active users were 1.91 billion on average in June, up 7% year over year. DAUs across all of the company’s apps — Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger — averaged 2.76 billion for the month of June, up 12% on an annual basis.
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The social media company posted earnings per share of $3.61. On average, Wall Street analysts predicted Q2 revenue of $27.82 billion and EPS of $3.02, per Refinitiv data.
However, in the second half of 2021, Facebook said, it expects year-over-year total revenue growth rates “to decelerate significantly on a sequential basis as we lap periods of increasingly strong growth” driven by the COVID pandemic.
In addition, the company said it still expects increased “headwinds” with respect to ad targeting in 2021 from regulatory and platform changes, most notably Apple’s update with iOS 14.5 to require users to opt-in to allow ad tracking. Facebook says it anticipates the iOS privacy change to have a greater impact in Q3 than the second quarter.
“We had a strong quarter as we continue to help businesses grow and people stay connected,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. “I’m excited to see our major initiatives around creators and community, commerce, and building the next computing platform coming together to start to bring the vision of the metaverse to life.”
To attract even more users and boost usage — and also as a counterweight to negative PR — Zuckerberg this month announced that Facebook would pay more than $1 billion to creators who use certain Facebook and Instagram features through the end of 2022.
At the same time, Facebook has recently become a bigger political target over the issue of misinformation on its platforms. President Biden this month said companies like Facebook are “killing people” by allowing falsehoods about COVID vaccines to proliferate.
Facebook hit back at Biden, saying “We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts.” In a blog post, VP of integrity Guy Rosen pointed to the White House’s goal of 70% of Americans vaccinated by July 4 and wrote, “Facebook is not the reason this goal was missed.” Biden later walked back the comment, telling reporters that “Facebook isn’t killing people” but added that he wanted the social giant to step up its ability to block “outrageous misinformation” about vaccines on its platforms “instead of taking it personally that somehow I’m saying Facebook is killing people.”
The company also has drawn fire over failing to protect kids from social-media dangers. On Tuesday, Facebook announced changes on this front for its Instagram app, including: setting accounts for users 16 or younger (in most countries) to be private by default; making it harder for “potentially suspicious accounts” to find young people; and limiting options advertisers have to target ads to young people.
Facebook had 63,404 employees as of June 30, 2021, an increase of 21% year over year.