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Facebook stock rockets to record high, despite advertiser boycott and never-ending pandemic

More people are using Facebook services, including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, during the coronavirus shutdowns.

Facebook stock rockets to record high, despite advertiser boycott and never-ending pandemic
[Photo: TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay]

Facebook shares catapulted to an all-time high in after-hours trading today after the social media giant posted significantly better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter of 2020.

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Here are the top-line numbers:

  • EPS: $1.80
  • Revenue: $18.69 billion
  • Daily active users: 1.79 billion, up 12%
  • Monthly active users: 2.70 billion, 12%

Analysts were expecting earnings per share of $1.39 on revenue of $17.4 billion, according to consensus estimates cited by CNBC.

The rosy report is notable given industrywide disruptions to advertising—where Facebook makes most of its money—due to the coronavirus pandemic. Advertisers have paused or canceled campaigns in the wake of a global health crisis with no end in sight, and Facebook is not immune to these broader trends. The company warned in its report that it expects to be impacted by “continued macroeconomic uncertainty, including the pace of recovery and the prospects for additional economic stimulus.”

Facebook is also facing an advertising boycott over its content moderation policies, particularly in regards to hate speech and other undesirable content. The company indicated that this exodus did indeed have a negative impact on its business in July.

“Our business has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and, like all companies, we are facing a period of unprecedented uncertainty in our business outlook,” the company said. “We expect our business performance will be impacted by issues beyond our control, including the duration and efficacy of shelter-in-place orders, the effectiveness of economic stimuli around the world, and the fluctuations of currencies relative to the U.S. dollar.”

Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at eMarketer, said Facebook’s bottom line was likely aided by the decidedly cooler Instagram, which often escapes the public scrutiny and negative attention that critics aim at its parent company.

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“Although Facebook doesn’t release details about Instagram’s revenue, we believe that Instagram has been a rapidly growing contributor to the company’s total revenue, and that its success is helping to buoy Facebook as a whole,” Williamson said in a statement.

Facebook shares were up almost 7% in after-hours trading. You can check out the full release here.

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About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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