Facebook, under fire, reports record earnings

Despite all of the doom and gloom reported about Facebook, from record fines to what seems like a constant stream of bad news, the company is doing just fine: it still made a ton of money.

Lurking in Q1's earnings filing, reported overnight, was a surprise: the company is expecting to pay a fine of $3-5 billion in the US as a result of a still-ongoing FTC probe into its conduct following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

That sounds like a bunch of money—and it is—but it’s a drop in the bucket when Facebook, in the same quarter, filed revenue of $15 billion. Quartz points out that even with the money set aside for paying the fine, the quarter was still a record Q1.

For context, the United Kingdom issued fines of just £500,000 for the same breach under pre-GDPR provisions, given the violations happened before the law went into effect. Even still, GDPR only allows for fines of up to 4 percent of global revenue—bringing the maximum up to around $22 million—which wouldn't come close to the FTC's expected fine.

Investors reacted to this news with elation and relief, sending after-hours trading soaring to over $200 a share. After all, the fine could have been much greater, and while a slap on the wrist from the FTC is a first for Facebook, it puts a dollar amount on what it can get away with—which isn't so bad after all.

Other highlights from Facebook’s earnings: 

  • 👩‍👩‍👦 More than 2.38 billion people log in to Facebook each month, and 1.56 billion every day
  • 💸 Average revenue per user was $6.42 globally
  • 🔢 More than 2.7 billion people touch a Facebook product every month
  • 📈 User growth has returned in Europe after it started falling in 2018

Other earnings roundups

It was a big day for earnings at technology companies, and we know some of this might be sleep-inducing, so here's the highlights from each big release today.


  • After a few consecutive quarters of profitability, Tesla is dramatically losing money again, reporting a $702 million loss in Q1. 
  • Tesla's CFO said that "this was one of the most complicated quarters in Tesla's history" during the earnings call.
  • Losses mounted because Tesla struggled to deliver overseas, lower than expected delivery volumes and significant internal restructuring.
  • The company is burning cash at an alarming rate, losing $1.5 billion in just a single quarter, and leaving it with $2.2 billion on hand—which includes customer deposits for cars that are yet to be built.


  • Reported surprisingly strong results of $30.6 billion, up more than 14 percent over last year.
  • The cloud group, which is responsible for Azure, reported $9.7 billion and 21 percent growth. It's almost as if on-demand servers are a money-printing machine! 
  • Windows is actually...growing? It increased revenue to $10.7 billion, despite Windows being free for consumers, it's growing OEM and enterprise revenue steadily.
  • Surface revenue is still strong, at $1.3 billion and grew 21 percent, which isn't bad considering the PC industry was widely thought to be dead (or at least stagnant).