Facebook on Tuesday published its consolidated financial results for the fourth quarter of 2017, posting record revenue despite the slowest user growth in its history. The company's turnover amounted to $12.97 billion and allowed for a healthy net income of over $4.2 billion, whereas its number of monthly active users increased to 2.13 billion, 3.39 percentage points up year-on-year. The boost of its monthly audience managed to partially compensate for the slower-than-expected growth of daily active users which still amounted to a 14-percent annual increase, with Facebook now having 1.4 billion people logging into its social media platform every 24 hours. The lack of better results in this segment is primarily attributed to the firm's decision to start revamping its service with the goal of making it more beneficial to the society as a whole, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said, referring to Facebook's recent fight against the so-called "fake news" and the newly announced effort to purge the News Feed from the majority of content posted by publishers so as to make it more focused on one's friends.
Mobile platforms are still Facebook's top source of revenue, with mobile advertising accounting for 89-percent of its turnover from digital ads over the three-month period ending December 31. While the popularity of smartphones isn't expected to diminish in the near future, it remains to be seen whether Facebook's increasing reliance on mobile advertisements will prompt some analysts to start worrying about its sustainability. The company's 2016 ad revenue was somewhat more diversified, though 84-percent of it was still attributed to mobile devices. Facebook's strong growth in the online marketing segment was also followed by a major expansion of its workforce, with its headcount at the end of 2017 being 47-percent higher than in the previous year, amounting to 25,105 employees in total. The Menlo Park, California-based social media giant also continued increasing its capital expenditures, investing $2.26 billion in the final quarter of the year. Over the course of 2017, the firm's capital expenditures amounted to $6.73 billion.
The company's stock was largely unchanged following the publication of the results despite going through a short-lived decline in after-hours trading, having ended the day at $189.50. Most analysts are still satisfied with its engagement rate even though the News Feed revamp and related changes lowered the amount of time users spend on the platform by 50 million hours per day, as per its internal estimates. Regardless, 66-percent of Facebook's monthly users are logging into the platform at least once per 24 hours, with that metric being largely unchanged since 2015, indicating a high level of tolerance on the part of its audience.