Facebook Growth Slows Amid Saturation In Developed Countries

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User growth continues to slow as Zuckerberg admits saturation in developed countries

Facebook continues to add more customers despite its recent privacy scandals, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that growth has declined in saturated developed countries.

Facebook is currently used by a staggering 2.27 billion people around the world, but growth is coming from developing countries, as well as expanding its WhatsApp and Instagram customer base.

The figures come as Facebook revealed its third quarter financials, which showed that the firm is still extremely profitable and growing its revenue stream.

Strong financials

Indeed, the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal did little to dent the fiscal performance of the social networking giant.

For the quarter ending 30 September, Facebook’s profit rose 9 percent to $5.14bn (£4.02bn) from $4.7bn (£3.7bn) in the same year-ago quarter.

Revenues meanwhile rose 33 percent to $13.7bn (£10.8bn) from $10.3bn (£9bn) a year ago.

“Our community and business continue to grow quickly, and now more than 2 billion people use at least one of our services every day,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. “We’re building the best services for private messaging and stories, and there are huge opportunities ahead in video and commerce as well.”

During the quarter Facebook and its Messenger service grew monthly users to 2.27 billion, up 10 percent compared with a year ago.

However this was a percentage point below both expectations and last quarter’s pace.

According to Reuters, Zuckerberg said that Facebook’s problem is that users are moving toward direct messaging and video viewing faster than the firm can find ways to place ads there, whilst at the same time attracting clicks and not annoying users.

It seems that the vast majority of new users are from countries such as India, Indonesia and Philippines, after Zuckerberg was reported in media outlets such as the Guardian as saying that growth had reached saturation point in developed countries.

Facebook said that daily active users (DAUs) were 1.49 billion on average for September 2018, an increase of 9 percent year-over-year.

Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 92 percent of advertising revenue for the third quarter of 2018, up from approximately 88 percent of advertising revenue in the third quarter of 2017.

Scandalous year

Facebook has faced a bruising year after reports of Russian interference in the US elections, as well as a hugely damaging data privacy scandal.

Last week the British Information Commissioner’s Office confirmed it was imposing the maximum possible fine in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal.

Cambridge Analytica was at the centre of a row over the alleged misuse of the personal data on 87 million people, mostly in the US, and such was the scandal that the political consultancy was forced to shut down soon afterwards.

The Commissioner confirmed that Facebook could have been fined up to £20m if the breach had occurred under the GDPR regulations.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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