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With 2 billion users and counting, Facebook’s profit and revenue soar

Facebook reported its second quarter earnings today, and the results were predictably positive. The social network passed 2 billion monthly users earlier this summer, with over 1.3 billion using its software every day. The company parlayed that audience into $9.3 billion in revenue and $3.89 billion in net income. That’s a 71 percent higher profit than it reported for this same period last year.

The one criticism you could make of Facebook’s results is that the rate of growth for both its revenue and profit were down a few percentage points. But that seems only natural as the company works with ever larger numbers. Facebook has warned repeatedly that it expects revenue growth to slow meaningfully this year, as it reaches a point where it can’t cram more ads into the News Feed without turning off users.

On today’s earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he hopes the company can get more aggressive about finding ways to get advertising and other monetization into its messaging products. That includes its standalone Messanger app and WhatsApp community, both of which have over 1 billion active monthly users.

Facebook also plans to push aggressively into video, paying to create original, episodic series. It’s reportedly going to kick things off this August. The big question for the second half of this year will be whether or not Facebook users respond to this and start engaging at length and on a repeated basis the way they do on Youtube.

The rise in profit was not slowed by Facebook’s ever-increasing spend on research and development or its ballooning headcount. The company had 20,658 employees as of June 30th, 2017, an increase of 43 percent year over year, and its R&D budget grew around 25 percent from the same period in 2016.

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