What data scandal? Facebook is growing

How Cambridge Analytica exploited the Facebook data of millions

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares popped in pre-market trade on Wednesday after the social media giant brushed off the Cambridge Analytica scandal to smash expectations with its first-quarter earnings.

That has let the company increase the price of ads - Facebook said mobile made up 91% of ad revenue in the recent period, compared with about 85% a year earlier. But in the aggregate they have shrugged off the scandals, as have users. Amidst reports of the data breach, it was alleged that Indian political parties also employed the use of Cambridge Analytica to influence elections in India, giving rise to controversy.

Facebook now has 27,742 employees - an increase of 48 per cent y-o-y.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced Kevin Martin, a former Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, would become its interim head of US policy, replacing chief privacy officer Erin Egan, as the company continues to grapple with the political fallout from the Cambridge Analytica controversy.

Zuckerberg also reiterated some of the comments made during his recent testimony to the U.S. senate committee, where Facebook was accused of failing to protect the privacy of millions of users, specifically relating to the Cambridge Analytica data leak and Russian interference in the United States presidential elections in 2016.

In the hours following the release of the first-quarter numbers, company shares climbed more than 5.5 percent to $168.50.

Despite the strong results, Facebook shares closed unmoved Wednesday.

If users chose to restrict their data as much as possible on the platform, Ms Sandberg said it "would affect the product".

A senior IT ministry official aware of the development said that the government wants to send out a "strong signal" to worldwide bodies operating in IT and data platform that any manipulation of data of Indians, in violation of law and privacy norms, will be viewed "seriously".

"People want [Facebook] to be more about friends and family and less about content consumption", he said. The government has also sought information about the entities working under CA along with the details of their directors. A handful of advertisers, including Mozilla, maker of internet browser Firefox, pulled their ads from Facebook. But don't expect any sweeping changes to the company's ad business yet.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg faces Wall Street for the first time since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

"While CA has denied (in the earlier response) having any Facebook data of Indian citizens, please confirm whether any such data was ever accessed by (or offered to) CA", it said.

Facebook also said it expected the number of users across Europe to stop growing or even drop as the General Data Protection Regulation, a sweeping set of digital-privacy rules, comes into force on May 25.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, which has sparked government investigations globally, was mentioned only once on an hour-long conference call between analysts and Facebook management, when one analyst asked Zuckerberg what he learned from testifying in USA congressional hearings.

The European Parliament last week demanded Zuckerberg appear in person to answer questions about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, rejecting his offer to send a more junior executive in his place.

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