Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp monthly users at 3.45b in March

Facebook reported on Wednesday that it had 2.85 billion monthly users, on average, in March. That’s up by 10 percent from a year earlier, AP reports.

Its family of apps — Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — had monthly users of 3.45 billion in March. That’s the number of people who logged in to at least one of the apps during the month.

In January, the company predicted uncertainty for 2021, saying its revenue in the latter half of the year could face significant pressure. Because revenue grew so quickly in the second half of 2020, Facebook could have trouble keeping up that pace. This uncertainty is now baked into the company’s forecast, so it didn’t come as a surprise to investors.

Shares of the Menlo Park, California-based company gained by 6 percent to US$325.75 in after-hours trading. If the gains hold in Thursday’s regular trading session, it will mark a record high for the stock, which is up by 12 percent so far this year.

Facebook quarterly net jumps to US$9.5b

Facebook’s stock jumped Wednesday into record territory after the social media giant reported stronger-than-expected results for the first quarter thanks to soaring ad revenue, AP reports.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said the extra money means the company will invest more in new areas of potential growth — including augmented and virtual reality, commerce, business messaging and content creators, such as people who make videos, write newsletters and host podcasts.

“I believe that augmented and virtual reality are going to enable a deeper sense of presence and social connection than any existing platform,” he said in a conference call with analysts. He added that this accounts for a “major part” of Facebook’s research and development budget growth.

Facebook is also expanding its e-commerce offerings and the use of its messaging services for businesses. As for the creator economy, the company is getting into audio, podcasts and independent publishing similar to Substack.

The company said it earned US$9.5 billion, or US$3.30 per share, in the January-March period. That’s up by 94 percent from US$4.9 billion, or US$1.71 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue grew by 48 percent to US$26.17 billion from US$17.44 billion.

The average price of ads on Facebook grew by 30 percent from a year earlier, while the number of ads increased by 12 percent.

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