Facebook beats revenue estimates by $1.6 bln

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Social media giant Facebook on Thursday warned of a tougher 2021 despite beating analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenue.

According to the latest data, total revenue, which primarily consists of ad sales, rose to $21.47 billion from $17.65 billion in Q3, beating analysts’ estimates of $19.82 billion.

This year, Facebook faced a surging use of its platforms by users stuck at home amid coronavirus-related lockdowns, which cushioned online ad sales even as broader economic activity suffered.

The company said in its outlook that it faced “a significant amount of uncertainty”: “Considering that online commerce is our largest ad vertical, a change in this trend could serve as a headwind to our 2021 ad revenue growth”.

Facebook has recently been under pressure over its handling of hate speech, as well as over next week’s US presidential election. It is currently aiming to avoid a repeat of 2016, when Russia used its platforms to spread election-related misinformation.

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