Facebook (FB) Given Neutral Rating at UBS Group

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Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) shares are surging after reporting a big fourth-quarter earnings beat.

The company ended 2018 with 1.52 billion average daily users, up 9 percent from a year earlier and 28 million more than in Q3.

Headcount increased 42 percent year-over-year.

Facebook shares jumped 7.7 per cent to US$161.99 following the release of the earnings.

CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg said "We've put most of our energy into security over the past 18 months, so that building new experiences wasn't the priority over that period".

The social media giant now has 2.32 billion monthly active users (MAUs) globally - an increase of 9% (year-over-year) - and 1.52 billion daily active users (DAUs), thanks to the growth in emerging markets like India, the company said late Wednesday. The social networking company reported $2.38 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.18 by $0.20.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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"Our community and business continue to grow".

Facebook ads, and those of larger rival Google, are still more relevant and effective than most other options, precisely because the companies collect so much information on activity across the internet and beyond. The stock rose 4.3 percent in the regualr session. He said the move is "a 2020 thing or beyond".

"There's a lot more that we need to figure out before we finalize the plans". Sanders Capital LLC now owns 3,564,800 shares of the social networking company's stock valued at $522,620,000 after acquiring an additional 2,031,500 shares in the last quarter. The company also seeks to grow the service as a standalone platform - not just something that Facebook users access through their news feeds.

Advertising revenues for 2018 were a staggering $55bn.

According to a Pew Research Center survey past year, 51 per cent of USA teens ages 13 to 17 use Facebook, compared with 72 per cent for Facebook-owned Instagram and 69 per cent who are on Snapchat. The company announced that each month, a new high of 2.7 billion people used Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger. If consumers haven't done so already, they will now realize that Instagram and WhatsApp are part of the Facebook family, potentially exposing those platforms to the reputation problems suffered by core Facebook over the past few years.

"We're going to get to a point soon where people feel like Facebook is about as communities as it - is about communities as much as it's about your friends and family where nearly everyone is in a group that's meaningful to them and that community is a central part of their experience", asserted Zuckerberg.

"We think it's important to bring in new perspectives to the privacy team at Facebook, including people who can look at our products, policies and processes with a critical eye", Rob Sherman, Facebook's deputy chief privacy officer, told Ars Technica.