Facebook announced Wednesday that it blew past investor estimates in its fourth quarter earnings, jumping to $3.57 billion in profit, mostly due to mobile advertising growth. In total, advertising revenue grew 53%, and 84% of its total advertising revenue growth in Q4 came from mobile. In an interview with TechCrunch, Facebook's Chief Finance Officer David Wehner also said the tech giant added more users in Q4 than any in its history.

By the numbers, via CNBC:

  • $8.81 billion in revenue vs. $8.51 billion expected
  • $1.41 adjusted earnings per share vs. $1.31 adjusted per share expected
  • 1.23 billion Daily active users (DAUs) vs.1.19 billion expected
  • 1.86 billion Monthly active users (MAUs) vs. 1.83 billion expected

What a difference five years makes ....

  • Facebook's mobile ad revenue from Q4 2011: 0%
  • Facebook's mobile ad revenue from Q4 2016: 84%

For investors: Shares elevated to about three percent after the earnings call. Per Yahoo!, Facebook shares rose after seven of its previous 12 earnings announcements, and Facebook's adjusted earnings per share have now topped estimates for the last 13 quarters.

What matters: Heavy advertising growth, particularly on mobile, should help to relax investor concerns over major investments in virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, as well as big acquisitions like WhatsApp. But Facebook warned investors they should still continue to expect ad revenue to "come down meaningfully" in 2017, as the company works through ways to monetize video while newsfeed inventory continues to plateau. Earnings were announced shortly after Facebook lost a $500 million virtual reality headset case against ZeniMax Media Inc. for stolen technology. Mark Zuckerberg asked investors to be patient as the company continues to make large-scale investments in new technologies.

Go deeper

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes.

  • A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

  • With a firm moderator, NBC News' Kristen Welker — along with threats of mic cutoffs and advisers' pleas for Trump to cool it — voters finally heard clear contrasts.
  • Trump swung several times, but never quite landed a punch as he tried to connect Biden to a nebulous cloud of allegations about business dealings by his son Hunter.

Between the lines: Trump didn't focus on assuring women voters or seniors. But his economic argument could reassure some men in swing states.

  • Trump went back to 2016 mode — the outsider, chiding career politicians. But he's one of them now.

During an exchange about race in America, Trump said: "Nobody has done more for the black community than Donald Trump, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln — possible exception. ... I'm the least racist person in this room."

  • Biden retorted sarcastically, referring to Trump: "Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history."


Reporting was contributed by Stef Kight, Alexi McCammond, David Nather and Hans Nichols.

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."

Trump claims COVID "will go away," Biden calls his response disqualifying

President Trump repeated baseless claims at the final presidential debate that the coronavirus "will go away" and that the U.S. is "rounding the turn," while Joe Biden argued that any president that has allowed 220,000 Americans to die on his watch should not be re-elected.

Why it matters: The U.S. is now averaging about 59,000 new coronavirus infections a day, and added another 73,000 cases on Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The country recorded 1,038 deaths due to the virus Thursday, the highest since late September.