Facebook’s business is doing better than ever, Alex Heath

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If you pay even the slightest attention to tech news, you’ve probably recently seen nonstop criticism of Facebook’s handling of COVID-19 misinformation, along with a barrage of negative headlines tied to a new book about the company called An Ugly Truth.

These headlines generally paint the picture of a tech giant that is on the outs with users, advertisers, lawmakers, and its Silicon Valley peers. But as the world’s largest social network showed Wednesday, the reality of how its business is performing couldn’t be more opposite.

Facebook said its revenue grew 56 percent in the second quarter to $29 billion, meaning it grew faster during the period than Apple or Microsoft. More impressively, its profit grew an astounding 101 percent to $10.4 billion. Daily users across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp increased 12 percent from the same time last year to 2.76 billion. Non-advertising revenue — namely sales of the Oculus Quest VR headset — grew at a more modest rate of 36 percent. And Apple’s new ad tracking prompt for iPhone apps didn’t materially hurt ad revenue like some expected, though Facebook indicated that the worst is ahead.

In prepared remarks to investors, Facebook CFO David Wehner said to expect revenue growth to “decelerate significantly” in the second half of this year, mainly due to a momentary boost in usage last year during pandemic lockdowns. He also cited “regulatory and platform changes, notably the recent iOS updates” from Apple.

Facebook’s stock price has ballooned 39 percent since the beginning of this year, but the warning about a coming growth slowdown spooked investors, sending its stock down about 3 percent.

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