Graphic: Facebook revenues surge on the back of mobile advertising

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Thursday, January 30, 2014
1:46 PM

Facebook has reported record revenues of 2.5 billion dollars (£1.5 billion) from 750 million daily users, the social networking heavyweight said.

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Facebook history

•Founded in 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg and his college room mates;

•The ultra-exclusive site was rolled out to a mainstream audience on September 26 2006, for those at least 13 years old with a valid email address;

• By June 2009, users were given the chance to register their own personalised domain with Facebook, in the same way Twitter • In January 2012, Facebook announced plans to introduce the timeline facility - prompting suggestions it was moving closer to Twitter;

•Facebook Inc began selling stock to the public and trading on the Nasdaq in May 2012;

•By October, more than one million users had registered with the site - little over four years after 100 million people signed up to the service. According to latest figures, around 9% of users are reckoned to be fake;

•It joined the Fortune 500 list - a compilation for investors to gauge the relative size of the operations of companies - for the first time on the list published in May 2013, being placed at position 462;

•In September, Facebook apologised after a dating advertisement featuring the photo of a Canadian teenager who died after months of bullying was posted on its site;

•Plans announced in October allowing users to open their profiles to strangers angered campaigners, who voiced concerned about cyber-bullying and sexual predators;

• That month, David Cameron said Facebook bosses had some explaining to do, describing them as “irresponsible”, for lifting a ban on videos of beheadings being posted on its site;

•But social media users were also warned, at the end of last year, they could be inadvertently breaking the law by commenting on court cases online;

• In December, Facebook rolled out plans to allow video adverts to appear in news feeds, already playing the content.

The end of quarter results, posted at the close of the US markets, showed a revenue rise of one billion dollars (£0.6bn) on the same period last year.

It was the third consecutive quarterly revenue increase - 2.585 billion dollars (£1.56bn) up from the previous high of 2.016 billion dollars (£1.22bn), three months earlier.

More than 90% of the revenue came from advertising - the last three months having included the period when Facebook began placing video adverts in users’ news feeds.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive, said: “It was a great end to the year for Facebook.

“We’re looking forward to our next decade and to helping connect the rest of the world.”

A total of 757 million people used the world’s biggest social media platform every day between October and December, today’s results said, up from 618 million the same time last year.

The number of monthly users accessing Facebook on mobile devices - including smartphones and tablets - rose to 556 million from 374 million, 12 months earlier.

It was a year in which Facebook attracted criticism from internet safety campaigners and the Prime Minister David Cameron, after a slew of concerns about content and privacy settings.

The social networking site announced that users aged from 13 to 17 will now be able to switch their settings to share posts with anyone on the internet, rather than just their “friends” or “friends of friends”.

Children’s groups and internet safety experts denounced the move, saying it could leave young people more vulnerable to cyber-bullying.

Users of Facebook and other social media also repeatedly found themselves in hot water with authorities after naming witnesses in court cases and through writing racist posts.

It prompted the Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC to warn users they could be inadvertently breaking the law by commenting on court cases online.

As of January 2014, the company has about 1.2 billion monthly users.

Tony Jiang, strategist from digital agency TH_NK, said: “Facebook’s getting a lot of negative press right now, but its financial performance has been nothing short of stellar this year.

“It’s recently taken over from Yahoo as the second largest online advertising platform and is second only to Google. Early reports of high click through rates indicates that Facebook investors will have another good week.”

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