Menlo Park, California-based social networking giant Facebook beat analyst expectations to report an 18% increase in revenue at $17.74 billion for the first quarter of the financial year 2019-2020, compared to $15.08 billion for the same period last year.
The company said it will not provide guidance for the second quarter or the full year, due to the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, it said in a statement.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of the company, said he was concerned that the economic fallout of the pandemic would last longer than anticipated.
“While there are massive societal costs from the current shelter-in-place restrictions, I worry that re-opening certain places too quickly before inaction rates have been reduced to very minimal levels will almost guarantee future outbreaks and worse longer-term health and economic outcomes,” Zuckerberg said in the company’s earnings call.
At the same time, the company has been seeing signs of stability in sales in April, after a dip in March, he said.
Its advertising revenue was approximately flat in the first three weeks of April, compared to the same period last year. This was an early sign of recovery, following a steep decrease in March as countries went under lockdown worldwide.
As social media usage surges during the lockdown, Facebook said it now has 2.99 billion monthly users across its family of apps, compared to 2.89 billion in the previous quarter.
Around three billion users have interacted with at least one of its apps, such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, each month in the quarter, up from 2.9 billion last quarter, it said. The company expects some of that engagement to slip once lockdown orders are relaxed.
Just last week, Facebook acquired a 9.99% stake in Reliance Jio for $5.7 billion, cementing its India presence in a bid to woo small businesses.