Facebook Inc. posts strong third quarter results, WhatsApp Pay in India soon

By Xite - October 31, 2019
Despite being mired in several controversies, Facebook has posted a 29 per cent increase in its revenue (YoY) in the third quarter of 2019. Facebook said it now has 1.62 billion daily active users (DA....

Facebook Inc. has been facing a lot of regulatory problems pertaining to its users’ privacy, but that doesn’t seem to affect the company much, as it posted strong results for its third quarter that ended on September 30. The social networking company posted revenue of $17.65 billion, which is a 29 per cent jump from $13.73 billion that the company posted a year ago. The net income of Facebook Inc was $6.09 billion as compared to $5.14 billion reported in the third quarter of 2018.

‘We had a good quarter, and our community and business continue to grow. We are focused on making progress on major social issues and building new experiences that improve people's lives around the world,’ CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. The company’s advertising sales accounted for 98 per cent of the total revenue. Mobile advertising revenue represented about 94 per cent of the total advertising revenue, which is up from about 92 per cent of the total advertising revenue on a year-over-year (YoY) basis.

Facebook said that it has 1.62 billion daily active users (DAUs) on average (for September 2019) – an increase of 9 per cent YoY. When it comes to the monthly active users (MAUs), the number reached 2.45 billion, registering an increase of 8 per cent YoY. ‘We estimate that around 2.2 billion people now use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger every day on average, and around 2.8 billion people use at least one of our Family of services each month,’ Facebook Inc said. Headcount, i.e., the number of Facebook employees globally, was 43,030 as of September 30. This is an increase of 28 per cent YoY.

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Talking more about WhatsApp during the earnings call, Zuckerberg said that the company will soon launch WhatsApp Pay in India. This particular feature has been facing data compliance issues and stiff regulations put in place by the Indian regulators, but it's apparently ready for use after a successful test run with a million people in the country. ‘We have our test going on in India. The test really shows that a lot of people are going to want to use this product. We're very optimistic that we're going to be able to launch to everyone in India soon but, of course, will share more news when we have that,’ Zuckerberg said.

For those unaware, the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have expressed concerns over some of the features in WhatsApp Pay. They say that these features do not comply with the regulations, like data localisation, laid by the authorities. WhatsApp says that it has already built a centre to store Indian users’ data in the country, however, conflicting reports cite RBI as saying that WhatsApp is yet to comply with the norms.

‘We differentiate between payment systems that are built on top of the existing financial infrastructure like what we're trying to do with WhatsApp payments or when we make payments in Instagram Shopping, and our work with something like Libra that is trying to build some new technological infrastructure for financial services,’ Zuckerberg noted. Facebook Inc. is also in soup for blockchain technology-powered cryptocurrency Libra. 

Recently, Zuckerberg faced an hours-long grilling by US lawmakers on Libra. Various central bank leaders and regulators globally have voiced concerns over the cryptocurrency, as they fear it could disrupt the global financial system by undermining monetary sovereignty and could end up in data privacy abuse.

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