You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mark Zuckerberg Defends Political Ads, Facebook Shares Up on Better-Than-Expected Q3 Earnings

Minutes after Twitter announced that it would ban all political advertising, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used his company’s Q3 2019 earnings call for a defense of political ads, arguing that they were free speech that was worth standing up for — even if this type of advertising was unpopular, and not all that meaningful in terms of revenues.

Zuckerberg said that he had spent a lot of time considering whether Facebook should ban political advertising, and that he would continue to do so. Ads from politicians are less than 0.5% of Facebook’s overall revenue, he added. However, getting rid of political advertising altogether may not be that easy, Zuckerberg suggested. “It’s hard to define where to draw the line,” he said.

Facebook’s chief exec also seemed to suggest that demands to ditch political advertising were politically motivated — a thinly veiled reference to the fact that the Trump re-election campaign has been spending heavily on Facebook. “A lot of people told us, you gotta pick a side,” he said. “We can’t make a decision that way.”

Zuckerberg readily admitted that the decision to stick with political advertising was controversial. “This may lead to more investigations, and the candidates may criticize us,” he said, adding that 2020 was shaping up to be “a very tough year” for the company.

Popular on Variety

Investors seemed to shrug off Zuckerberg’s worries, sending Facebook’s share price up more than 3% in after-hours trading on news of better-than-expected Q3 results.

Facebook generated revenue of $17.7 billion during its most recent fiscal quarter, compared to $13.7 billion during the same quarter a year ago. The company’s net income for the quarter was $6 billion, compared to $5.2 billion a year ago. This translates to earnings of $2.12 per share.

Analysts had expected earnings of $1.91 per share on revenue of $17.3 billion.

Facebook’s daily active users were 1.62 billion on average for September 2019, compared to 1.5 billion a year ago. Monthly actives increased to 2.45 billion, up from 2.27 billion in Q3 of 2018. The company said that 2.2B people use one its services every day, with 2.8 billion people using Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or Messenger every month.

Facebook only began to report this “family of apps” data point more recently as a way to show continued momentum as growth for its core app plateaus; in Q2, daily actives across its apps were 2.1 billion, and monthly actives were 2.7 billion, respectively.

More Digital

  • PewDiePie aka Felix KjellbergFelix Kjellberg 'This

    PewDiePie Announces He's Taking a Break From YouTube in 2020

    The gamer behind YouTube’s most-watched channel, PewDiePie (real name Felix Kjellberg), announced in his latest Pew News video, posted Saturday, that he is planning to take a break from the platform next year. Towards the end of the video, which slams YouTube for its inability to effectively enforce its latest policy updates, Kjellberg says, “I [...]

  • Cenk Uygur

    Bernie Sanders Retracts Endorsement of Young Turks Founder Cenk Uygur After Backlash

    Bernie Sanders pulled his support for Cenk Uygur’s congressional bid, with the Vermont independent in part acknowledging that Sanders’ supporters were “frustrated” about the endorsement. Sanders, who’s running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, cited Uygur’s announcement Friday that he would not be accepting any endorsements. In a statement, Sanders alluded to sexist and other [...]

  • Tana MongeauStreamy Awards, Arrivals, The Beverly

    Streamy Awards 2019: The Complete Winners List

    The 9th Annual Streamy Awards — honoring the best from YouTube and online video — were held Friday night in Beverly Hills. Tana Mongeau (pictured above) was named Creator of the Year and Rhett & Link’s “Good Mythical Morning” won Show of the Year in the two fan-voted Audience Choice categories. David Dobrik picked up [...]

  • NBC News - Quibi

    NBC News Digital Workers Form New Union

    A group of approximately 150 editorial workers who help produce some of NBC News digital content have formed a union, citing a desire to push their employer to work more seriously through such issues as equal pay and the recent handling of sensitive stories. Editorial employees of NBC News Digital won certification of their union [...]

  • Fox Nation Tests Holiday Programming

    Fox Nation Tests Holiday Programming

    The Fox Nation streaming-video service has long been touted as a new option for super-fans of the Fox News Channel. But some of the broadband hub’s new programming choices suggest adherents of “Fox & Friends” and Sean Hannity aren’t looking solely for chatter about politics and interviews with members of the Trump administration. Subscribers to [...]

  • Facebook

    FTC May Stop Facebook From Integrating Whatsapp, Instagram

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is weighing whether it should seek an injunction against Facebook to prevent the social media giant from integrating services like Whatsapp, Messenger and Instagram with its core app, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Regulators fear that Facebook’s app integration plans could make [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content