Facebook has been trapped for a year in a spiral of negative news and scandals that question its business model. The social network now announces a provision of 3,000 million dollars to face the legal costs of the investigation opened in the United States for violating the commitment to protect the privacy of its users in the known as Cambridge Analytica case. That caused the profit in the first quarter to fall by half, to 2,430 million.
The sanction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC, in its acronym in English) could amount to 5,000 million, according to the estimate provided by the company to investors in the presentation of results. Facebook is, in any case, negotiating with the government agencies the amount of the sanction that will be imposed by the practices in the management of the data of its users.
The FTC is the body in charge of protecting consumers. It is not the first time that Facebook deals with problems related to the protection of users' privacy. Menlo Park's technology company reached a pact in November 2011, after admitting that it deceived consumers by telling them that it protected their information when in reality they were sharing it without informing them.
Despite the losses it anticipates, its business grows solidly, albeit at a more moderate pace than in previous quarters. The 2.380 million users who access the platform each month generated revenues of 15,080 million. It is an improvement of 26% compared to the first quarter of last year. At the same time, it increases spending, investing in new services and improving the user experience.
The Cambridge Analytica data leakage scandal turned regulators' attention to the way in which it protects the privacy of its users. This week Facebook signed as general counsel and vice president of communications to the lawyer Jennifer Newstead, who until now was the main lawyer of the Department of State and who participated in the drafting of the Patriot Act.
Change of trend
To the efforts to preserve the safety of the users and to eliminate the abuses it is added that their followers are also changing the way in which they share information in these platforms. Facebook is therefore trying to monetize the traffic generated by Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp applications. In parallel, the company that runs Mark Zuckerberg is reinforcing audiovisual content.
Facebook shares have appreciated 40% over the last year, a performance that doubles that registered by the S & P 500 index, which has allowed it to reach 140,000 million in market capitalization. But it remains far from the annual maximum that marked at the end of July, when their titles came to be worth $ 218. Now they are 15% below, in the environment of 180 dollars.
One of its competitors, Twitter, is growing similar to Facebook. It improved revenues by 20% in the year and 10% by users. And the benefit tripled. The one that continues without being profitable in the sector of the social networks is Snap, although it reduced the losses practically to the half, until the 123 million dollars. However, the application to share photos managed to raise almost 40% the turnover despite the fact that its user base is stagnant.
At the close of the market, Microsoft also presented results. If applicable, they correspond to the third quarter of the fiscal year. It registered revenue of 30.57 billion dollars, which improves by 14% from a year ago. That turnover gave it a profit of 8,810 million, which represents an increase of 18%. Attributes this performance to the growth of data management.
Investors applauded their performance with a 3% rise, enough to place their market capitalization in the trillion dollars. It is a brand that seeks to reclaim Apple again and that Amazon also achieved. Microsoft has been revalued by 25% since the beginning of January and almost 35% during the last year.
Much of the comeback seen on Wall Street since December is precisely explained by the strong rebound in technology values. The Nasdaq and the S & P 500 are back this week at record highs, after recovering from the bust that took place in the final stretch of 2018. This Thursday is the turn of Amazon and next week will present results Alphabet, matrix of Google, and Apple.