TIME Earnings

Facebook Stock Hits All-Time High After Strong Earnings Report

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during an event at Facebook headquarters on April 4, 2013 in Menlo Park, California
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during an event at Facebook headquarters on April 4, 2013 in Menlo Park, California Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Mobile ads made up 62% of Facebook's $2.7 billion in ad revenue

Updated July 23 at 5:53 p.m.

Facebook stock climbed to an all-time high as it once again sailed past Wall Street’s expectations in its second quarterly earnings report of the year. The social network pulled in $2.9 billion in revenue for the quarter, beating analysts’ estimates of $2.8 billion. The company generated a profit of $791 million. Earnings minus some line items were 42 cents per share, blowing past estimates of 32 cents per share. Facebook shares were priced above $74 in after-hours trading.

Facebook now has 1.32 billion monthly active users, an increase of about 40 million from the previous quarter. Mobile usage continues to grow, with the social network now having 1.07 billion monthly active users on mobile devices, up from 1.01 billion in the previous quarter.

With increased mobile usage, mobile advertising continues to make up a bigger share of Facebook’s revenue pie. Mobile ads accounted for 62 percent of the company’s $2.7 billion in ad revenue for the quarter, up from a 59 percent share in the previous quarter and a 41 percent share during the same period last year. It’s a stark turnaround from Facebook’s early days as a public company, when the social network’s stock tanked on fears that it couldn’t convert its growing desktop business to mobile.

During a conference call with investors, Facebook touted its popularity as a public platform. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said 350 million Facebook users made 3 billion interactions related to the World Cup during the event, and the World Cup Final was the most-talked-about Facebook event in Facebook history. Facebook also just launched a new app specifically for celebrities with public pages last week. “Public content will continue to be a growing focus for us over the coming months,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

While Facebook’s revenue has been ramping up quickly, Zuckerberg again emphasized that investors shouldn’t expect significant monetization from newer apps and acquisitions such as Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram in the near future. He compared their current businesses development to where Facebook was in 2006, two years after it launched.

It’s not yet clear whether Facebook’s latest controversy, in which the company experimented with people’s News Feeds without their knowledge to alter their moods for a scientific study, will have a substantial effect on usage of the social network. The mood study was only widely publicized at the very end of the fiscal quarter.

 

TIME facebook

Here’s What William Shatner Thinks of Facebook’s New Celebs-Only App

William Shatner Reviews Facebook Mentions
William Shatner performs during his one-man show, "Shatner's World: We Just Live In It," in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller—Getty Images

And he isn't too amused with it

Actor William Shatner, an outspoken Twitter rights activist, took to Tumblr Tuesday to review Facebook Mentions, the new celebrities-only app meant to boost public figures’ interactions with their fans. And he isn’t too amused.

The Star Trek alum compared the older Pages App to Mentions, the new app that “most of [us] don’t have access to.” Shatner’s review contains five chapters for five comparable features between Pages and Mentions, stamping them each with the Shatner seal of approval or disapproval. He likes that Mentions allows him to track trends, mentions (of course) and notifications, but what didn’t float his boat were certain features that weren’t seamlessly integrated across Mentions and Pages, or ones that seemed to him like they were carelessly lumped in the app.

“The Fifth and final section of each app [Pages' Feed and Mentions' Photos, Events and Settings] seems like they are afterthoughts – where can we put these items,” Shatner wrote.

At times Shatner is a harsh critic, writing that both Pages and Mention “clearly both fail” with regards to posting options. Not only that, but he also seemed creeped out by the strange marketing strategy—a banner ad featuring a graphic of his face pasted onto an iPhone—and annoyed that he’d been forced to follow a celebrity to begin using the app. Of course, Facebook suggested that he follow Star Trek‘s George Takei, though the two aren’t exactly on good terms. In the end, Shatner remained skeptical of the new app’s usefulness.

“I’m not quite sure why Facebook released this app for ‘celebrities,’” Shatner wrote. “It seems to be ill conceived. I will probably use it to post to my Facebook when I’m on my phone but it doesn’t allow for mail or groups. I will continue to use my regular Facebook App as well as the Pages app.”

 

TIME Security

Facebook and Twitter Users: Don’t Fall for MH17 ‘Actual Footage’ Scams

Be very careful which MH17 news stories you click on, especially on Facebook and Twitter, where scammers are exploiting the tragedy to spam you.

If you run across Facebook pages touting pictures of Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash victims, or tweets linking to reports on the disaster, warning: they may be fakes, harbor malware or redirect you to pornographic websites.

The BBC reports that fraudsters are exploiting the tragic destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, ostensibly shot down by a ground to air missile on July 17, by bait-and-switching users with promises of shocking video footage or tribute pages to victims that instead link viewers to spam or other offensive content.

In one instance, a Facebook page was created the day the plane crashed that purported to have video footage of the crash itself, says the Daily Mail. Clicking the link promising the video redirected viewers to a spam site, which of course contained no such video. The Facebook page has since been removed, but security expert TrendMicro, which blogged about some of this cybercriminal activity on July 18, expects MH17 exploitation to continue.

In other instances, as noted by TrendMicro, people may be using the tragedy to boost web traffic, posting suspicious tweets with links to malicious sites harboring malware, but also seemingly legitimate ones in hopes of “gaining hits/page views on their sites or ads.”

So beware and think before you click, especially if you see claims like “Video Camera Caught the moment plane MH17 Crash over Ukraine” (as noted by the BBC). There is no such video, and the chances are all but certain you’re being gamed based on someone’s perverse attempt to mine an unspeakable calamity. What you can do, on the other hand, is report such suspicious activity to Twitter or Facebook.

TIME Marriage

Don’t Blame Facebook For Your Divorce

182659104
cpaquin—Getty Images

Understanding the flaws in a new study that says time spent on Facebook is related to the divorce rate

A new study suggests that there is a relationship between increased Facebook use and divorce. But don’t delete your Facebook account yet: the researchers themselves admit that they have found a correlation between the two, not causation.

The researchers, who published the study in the July 2014 edition of Computers in Human Behavior, first looked at the rise of Facebook use and the rate of divorce in individual states. They found that a 20% increase in the number of Facebook users in a given state is associated with a 4% increase in the divorce rate the following year. However, the researchers could not identify who exactly was creating new Facebook accounts: it could have been young teens allowed to log on to the site for the first time or older people finally catching on to the trend. The people increasing their Facebook use were not necessarily the same people who were getting divorced.

The researchers also looked at survey information from individuals across the country aged 18 to 39. They found a weak relationship between marriage quality and social media use: those who spent more time on Facebook, Twitter and other sites were more likely to be unhappy with their marriage and thinking about ending it. However, an easy explanation for this correlation absolves Facebook: rather than social media sites causing people to be unhappy with their marriages, people who are unhappy (whether with their spouse or their life in general) could be turning to Facebook and other social media as an outlet. Individuals use Facebook to talk to friends, connect with old acquaintances and browse news and information—all of which can be used as a distraction from the less pleasant realities of life.

As the researchers conclude: “The study does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship because that would require longitudinal and/or experimental data.”

Sure, the Internet has made it easier to find mistresses and simpler to track a spouse’s cheating. But in the end, the individual has agency. Being exposed to exes, old friends or strangers online perhaps makes cheating more tempting, but it doesn’t encourage cheating. Similarly, a person may be inclined to monitor their partner’s activity, but that person can also choose to trust his or her significant other. In short, if a cheater is going to cheat, he doesn’t need Facebook (0r even the Internet) to accomplish that goal.

TIME dancing

This Video of an Old Man Dancing Will Brighten Your Day

Forever young

The elderly man in this video may need two canes to walk, but he doesn’t need them to dance.

The user who uploaded this video to Facebook, Edgard Eleuterio Daza, gave it a short and sweet caption that sums the whole thing up pretty well: “Eternamente joven.”

Translation: forever young.

TIME Tech Policy

Why Twitter and the Rest of Silicon Valley Should Disclose Their Diversity Data

Twitter's IPO Spurs Horse Race Among Exchanges Seeking Listing
The Twitter Inc. logo is displayed on a mobile device for a photograph in New York, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. Twitter Inc., which announced plans last week for an initial public offering, is still deciding whether to list on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq Stock Market, setting off a horse race for the high-profile deal. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images Bloomberg/Getty Images

Twitter has become the largest media platform for minority voices on the planet. Everything from the Trayvon Martin case to the BET Awards has become the equivalent of a front-page headline on the site thanks to the social network’s trending topics, which aggregate the most popular conversations and present them to all Twitter users. Blacks over-index heavily on the site, with 29 percent of black Internet users in the U.S. reporting that they actively use Twitter in a recent Pew Research Center survey, compared to 16 percent of whites and Hispanics. In the same way Twitter owes much of its success to the early adopters who gave the site structure and the celebrities who gave it clout, it can also thank black people for helping it reach critical mass and climb to 255 million monthly active users.

So it’s disappointing that the company is so far resisting a positive trend in Silicon Valley, the disclosure of employee data related to race and gender. Chances are, Twitter’s employee roster looks a lot like its Bay Area competitors—overwhelmingly male and white. That’s not a dirty little secret in the Valley; it’s been the modus operandi for decades. The common race and gender tropes of tech startups are so ingrained that we now have an HBO sitcom to mock how far removed the tech scene is from the way the rest of the world lives.

Most tech firms have spent years resisting past entreaties to cough up demographic data. But the stonewalling ended in May, when Google published a diversity report revealing that the company is about 70 percent male, 61 percent white and 30 percent Asian. That set off a domino effect that led Yahoo, LinkedIn, Facebook and others to publish similar data. But huge consumer tech companies like Apple, Twitter and Amazon have so kept their own figures to themselves (Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the company will release its data “at some point“). Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson is planning an online petition and a social media campaign Friday to convince Twitter in particular to disclose its employee data. None of the companies mentioned responded to multiple emails from TIME asking whether they planned to release diversity reports in the future.

All of these companies, of course, are free to hire whoever they please. They work in a field so hyper-competitive that Google was once willing to give employees offered jobs by Facebook counteroffers within an hour. But anyone who’s ever held a professional job knows who you know matters as much as what you know, and many people in our so-called melting pot continue to maintain friendships exclusively within their own race. Minorities are at a natural disadvantage trying to crack into a world where no one looks like them.

Meanwhile, software development is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the U.S., expected to grow by 23% from 2012 to 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Historically underrepresented minorities are showing a greater interest in the field—20 percent of the students who graduated with a degree in computer and information sciences in 2012 were black or Hispanic, up from 16 percent a decade prior (at Google, by comparison, 5 percent of workers are black or Hispanic and 4 percent are multiracial). Making a commitment to diversity now means that a wider number of people will have access to these well-paying jobs in the future, a result that will help the tech sector remain prosperous and in-tune with cultural shifts as whites continue to decline as a percentage of the overall U.S. population.

Perhaps the companies that have yet to speak up on diversity fear the negative headlines that will come from admitting that their organizations are mostly comprised of white males. But an annual diversity report is a flag in the sand that indicates inclusiveness is important to a company, important enough to stake its reputation on. Diversity in the workforce has proven benefits for business, and it’s a savvy long-term marketing tool to help recruit employees who value diversity in their work life. The public pressure that naturally stems from such transparency will also encourage tech firms to partner with organizations already looking to boost involvement by women and minorities in computer science, such as Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code and the national societies for black and Hispanic engineers.

Obviously this is not just an issue that affects Silicon Valley. My own industry has seen a declining percentage of minorities working in newsrooms, and men still outnumber women in journalism jobs nearly two-to-one. We could use some more transparency on these issues as well. All U.S. companies with more than 100 employees are required to send detailed demographic data to a federal agency called the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission each year, so there’s no reason they can’t share it publicly. The European Union passed a law in April requiring firms with more than 500 employees to publicly release data related to workforce diversity, environmental sustainability and human rights.

It shouldn’t take a government mandate to introduce transparency, though. Right now the tech giants are uniquely positioned among American businesses to take a leadership role on the issue of diversity in the workplace. Our country’s two most valuable companies, Apple and Google, reside nine miles from each other in Silicon Valley. They and their smaller competitors are constantly crowing about how their disruptive products and progressive worldviews are changing the world for the better. Well, here’s a dead-simple way to help fix the world: take that race and gender data you’re already collecting and let everyone else see it. Public scrutiny of the information will inevitably beget positive change.

MONEY stocks

What the Financial Press Isn’t Telling Us About Google and Other Tech Companies

Google on iPhone 5
Iain Masterton—Alamy

The search engine's ongoing struggles in mobile highlight problems cropping up throughout the tech sector — yet you wouldn't know it by the reactions of investors and the media.

This was an awful week for tech, as many of the sector’s biggest names announced disappointing results that point to slowing growth and troubled strategies.

Yet you wouldn’t know it by how the markets — or the media — reacted this week.

Late Thursday, the search engine giant Google reported the amount of money that advertisers are willing to pay whenever someone clicks on an online ad continues to fall. So-called “average costs per click” for Google fell 6% in the quarter, compared with the same period a year earlier. This continues a trend that’s been going on for some time. In the first quarter, for example, costs per click sank 9%.

There are two explanations for why this is happening and neither is good news for Google. One is that online sites are increasingly being viewed through mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, and mobile ad platforms are not paying the premium that traditional web ads have. The other reason is that Google is no longer the only game in town when it comes to online advertising, and Facebook’s recent efforts to boost its mobile presence are clearly succeeding.

Yet instead, most news accounts focused on the rosier parts of Google’s quarterly results, such as the fact that overall revenues grew 22%.

The same thing happened all week throughout the sector:

* eBay

On Wednesday, the online auction site reported sales that fell short of the Street’s expectations. In fact, on a quarterly basis, revenues have been flat for several quarters. Instead, headlines focused on profits meeting consensus forecasts.

* Yahoo

The portal, which is making a huge push to try to be a big player in online advertising, reported on Tuesday that display ad revenues declined. Yet instead, many publications focused on how Yahoo’s mobile efforts were improving or that the company was going to sell a smaller-than-expected stake in Alibaba, the giant Chinese online retailer and auction site that is expected to go public later this summer.

* Intel

Intel shares hit a decade-high after releasing earnings results on Tuesday that showed better-than-expected PC sales expectations and overall revenue growth. As Reuters reported, chief financial officer Stacy Smith said “PC sales had stabilized, easing fears about the four-year decline in computer sales as consumers turn increasingly to tablets and smartphones.”

Great. That means the dying part of the industry is dying a little less rapidly than was previously thought. Meanwhile, investors glossed over the fact that revenues for the mobile and communications chip group sales were down 67% compared with the prior quarter and off 83% versus last year.

* Microsoft

The company announced the biggest layoffs in its history on Thursday, cutting its workforce by 18,000 — many of those coming from its recently acquired Nokia division. As MONEY’s Ian Salisbury reported, the historic cuts show how far this once-dominant tech company has fallen as it struggles to find its place in the sector. Yet many sites looked at the situation as glass-half-full, noting how the stock was rising on news that Microsoft was retrenching.

Of course, that’s what happens when investors fall in love with a particular group of stocks that have collectively posted a better-than-expected run. They start viewing those shares through rose-colored glasses.

TIME 2016 Election

Why Rand Paul Is Schmoozing in Silicon Valley

Faith And Freedom Coalition Holds Policy Conference
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) addresses the Faith and Freedom Coalition's 'Road to Majority' Policy Conference at the Omni Shoreham hotel June 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

As Kentucky Senator Rand Paul heads to San Francisco Thursday for a series of events over the weekend, he’s looking for two things above all: cash and geeks. Paul hopes to dip into the wealth of deep pocketed tech entrepreneurs, like PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel who donated more than $2.7 million in support of his father Ron Paul’s 2012 long shot presidential run. He also hopes to recruit tech savvy talent to work on his campaign, reports Politico.

As the scion of the country’s most prominent libertarian, Paul may find Silicon Valley to be fertile ground. Though the Silicon Valley tech scene has tended to support Democratic candidates and champion socially liberal causes, the libertarian streak that runs through the community has deep roots.

Many in the tech world embrace what author Steven Levy dubbed the “hacker ethic,” a value system stemming from the earliest days of computers that prizes transparency and voluntary collaboration and fundamentally distrusts any central authority.

With startups like Uber and Airbnb recently encumbered by regulatory moves at the state and local level, Paul’s libertarian vision of limited government oversight in the market has appeal. And Paul’s public displays of opposition to the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs speaks both to Silicon Valley’s libertarian bent and to concern for the bottom line of tech titans like Google and Facebook, both of which could see business hurt by NSA snooping.

But Rand Paul is a Republican, not a registered Libertarian, and he has staked out positions that put him at odds with Silicon Valley big wigs, most notably on immigration. Paul voted against last year’s grand “Gang of Eight” compromise on immigration reform, a measure championed by Fwd.us, the Silicon Valley lobbying group led by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who would like to see more visas available for the kinds of highly-skilled workers Facebook likes to employ.

“So far he’s tried to have it both ways,” Republican pollster Whit Ayres told TIME. “There might be some alignment on some libertarian issues but there certainly is no alignment based on immigration reform.”

With unaccompanied minors flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border in recent weeks, a Gallup poll out Wednesday reveals that immigration now tops the list of problems Americans see facing the country. If he is to make powerful allies among the tech titans of Silicon Valley, Paul will have to strike a delicate balance between the Zuckerberg set and the Tea Party border security hawks that first propelled him to national prominence.

In recent days, the Senator has reportedly met privately with both Thiel and Zuckerberg.

“Maybe they’re trying to woo him to their side,” Republican strategist Michael Hudome said. “He’s not to be underestimated.”

TIME Social Networking

Facebook: World Cup Visitors Made 2 New Friends

According to data provided to TIME exclusively from Facebook

World Cup soccer is for making new friends, according to Facebook data, at least.

On average, a visitor who checked into a World Cup stadium on Facebook last month made on average one new Brazilian friend and one friend from another country, according to data provided exclusively by Facebook to TIME and charted in the graphs below.

new_friendships[5]

Americans seem to have been some of the most gregarious World Cup visitors, forming the most new friendships with Brazilians during the games and sparking web-relationships with visitors from Great Britain, Australia, Mexico, Colombia and Canada. Visitors from Australia, Argentina, Mexico and Great Britain rounded out the top five countries whose residents were actively forming friendships with Brazilians during the World Cup.

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An estimated 3.7 million people traveled throughout Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and as visitors from around the world hit the myriad stadiums where countries met their futbol fate, they checked in on Facebook over 1 million times. Arrival check-ins peaked on day one of the tournament, when Brazil toppled Croatia 3-1. World Cup stadium check-ins peaked on the tournament’s final day.

first_checkins[6]

The final match between Germany and Argentina on July 13 had the most overall check-ins, according to the data, though the opening match was a close second. In all, there were about 236,600 check-ins to Rio de Janeiro’s Maranca stadium.

stadium_checkins_viz_final[5]

TIME facebook

Nielsen Partners Up With Facebook to Track Television-Viewing Habits

Facebook insists that it will not use viewing statistics to entice advertisers

Correction appended 5:03pm ET

Nielsen, the television-ratings company, will be partnering with Facebook to ascertain what television viewers are watching on their tablets and other mobile devices.

In the past, Nielsen solely tracked meters on home televisions, but now finds this old system has become antiquated with the increasing ubiquity of entertainment in the digital age. Beginning in the fall, Facebook will send aggregated data on the age and gender of users watching TV shows on their smartphones and tablets to Nielsen.

The partnership, which was originally announced in October 2013, is courting controversy following a controversial study in which Facebook manipulated the posts of its users to track their moods.

The social-media platform hopes to make their intentions more transparent in the forthcoming partnership, after the mood study called their privacy policies into question. “We have worked with Nielsen under strong privacy principles,” a Facebook spokesperson said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Nielsen also released a statement defending the partnership: “Nielsen takes nothing more seriously than consumer privacy and we have a well-established reputation for protecting privacy spanning several decades. Consumer privacy is a top priority for us and we work with leading privacy advocates to ensure our products meet or exceed industry privacy standards.”

Although the social-media company insists that it will not use viewing statistics to entice advertisers, some opponents argue that Facebook could take advantage of its users’ habits, Tech Times reports.

Along with Facebook, Nielsen will also working with Experian Marketing Services and insists all data collected by outside companies will remain anonymous.

The original article misstated how Facebook will share data with Nielsen. Facebook will provide Nielsen with aggregated age and gender data on certain users.

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