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Facebook finally has a good day: Business is booming

The social network beat Wall Street estimates on earnings and revenue and investors are happy once again.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
David Ramos / Getty

Here’s some good news for Facebook, which hasn’t had much to cheer about the past two months given it’s Cambridge Analytica fiasco: Business is booming.

Facebook reported Q1 earnings Wednesday and everything was rosy. The company reported profit of $1.69 per share on revenue of $11.97 billion for the quarter, both better than Wall Street estimates. The revenue jump in particular was a 49 percent increase over the same quarter one year ago — and it seems as though the revenue growth slowdown that Facebook warned was coming almost two years ago is still somewhere off in the future.

Facebook user growth was also solid. The company added 49 million daily users, and now 1.45 billion people use the service every day. It added a million users in the U.S. and Canada, reversing a small but troubling dip last quarter when that group of users shrank for the first time.

The stock is up more than 4 percent in early after-hours trading.

The glaringly obvious takeaway here: No, Facebook’s business was not decimated by its recent Cambridge Analytica privacy debacle.

We already knew that, of course. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told everyone earlier this month the scandal wasn’t hurting usage or revenue. But even if you don’t want to take his word for it, the Cambridge Analytica scandal didn’t crop up until the last two weeks of March, which were also the last two weeks of the quarter. If user or advertiser backlash does have any impact, it will appear in Facebook’s Q2 earnings, which we won’t find out about until July.

Analysts expected Facebook to report profits of $1.36 per share on revenue of $11.4 billion for the quarter.

Update: Facebook is buying back more stock. The company has approved $9 billion for stock buybacks, according to its earnings release. That’s on top of the $6 billion in stock buybacks it announced in Nov. 2016. It’s not immediately clear why the company is doing this, but it seems possible it could be tied to Zuckerberg’s plan to give away all of his stock but still maintain control of the company. Fewer shares circulating gives all existing shares more value when it comes to voting power.

Also, here’s Mark Zuckerberg’s post that he shared to his Facebook page right as the call started. It’s clear he wants to remind people that Facebook won’t stop building new features just because it has to fix a bunch of its old ones.

We just announced our quarterly results and community update. Despite facing important challenges, our community...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Facebook will talk about these numbers and take analyst questions at 5 pm ET today — we’ll be listening in and will update here or post others at Recode as we learn more.

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