Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Facebook, Google and Twitter hit record first quarter earnings this week, despite pressure from Washington and Brussels to rein in their power. 

Why it matters: Advertisers and users have largely shrugged off the scandals surrounding user privacy, consumer safety and election meddling. Meanwhile, the companies still face hearings and investigations, but it's unclear if significant regulation will follow.

Facebook and Twitter both saw significant jumps in their user bases, despite social media campaigns to abandon the services, include the viral #deletefacebook movement.

  • Facebook added 50 million daily active users this quarter, and 67 million monthly active users. Twitter added 6 million monthly active users.

YouTube continued to post strong growth for the quarter, despite dealing with controversies around terrorism videos, child pornography and other inappropriate content. Individual content creators continued to do well, too. "Over the last year, (YouTube) channels earning six figures annually grew more than 40%," said CEO Sundar Pichai.

Privacy concerns have not appeared to put a dent in these companies' profits.

  • Most analysts predicted that these companies would meet revenue and growth expectations, and only a few advertisers publicly acknowledged that they were dropping these companies from their marketing plans.
  • Similarly, Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview before his congressional hearings that the Cambridge Analytica scandal had not had any meaningful effect on the company's business or user behavior.

Yes, but: Despite meeting investor expectations on growth, all three companies have seen volatility in the stock market.

  • In fact, Facebook and Alphabet's stock both are down significantly from the beginning of Q1. (Facebook's stock is down 10%, while Alphabet's stock is down 4.71%. Twitter's stock is up 24.31%.)
  • Brian Wieser, senior research analyst at Pivotal Research Group, has rated both Facebook and Twitter as sell stocks.

"Techlash" headlines have mostly taken hold in response to chatter about curbing the anti-competitive power of these companies.

  • But Congress is unlikely to pass meaningful legislation and the Federal Trade Commission, which has opened up an investigation into Facebook, won't fine the company out of business.
  • The primary threat to big tech's bottom line comes from Brussels, which has imposed aggressive antitrust fines and data privacy regulations.

What's next? Tech companies will face the consequences of Europe's sweeping data privacy law, GDPR, which goes into effect in late May. But many analysts suggest that GDPR may actually favor the bigger tech companies because they are better positioned than smaller rivals to afford compliance measures.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Health

Moderna exec says children could be vaccinated by mid-2021

Tal Zaks, chief medical officer of Moderna, tells "Axios on HBO" that a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for children by the middle of next year.

Be smart: There will be a coronavirus vaccine for adults long before there is one for kids.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sen. Kelly Loeffler to return to campaign trail after 2nd negative test

Sen. Kelly Loeffler addresses supporters during a rally on Thursday. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R-Ga.) campaign announced Monday that she "looks forward to getting back out on the campaign trail" after testing negative for COVID-19 for a second time, following earlier conflicting results.

Why it matters: Loeffler has been campaigning at events ahead of a Jan. 5 runoff in elections that'll decide which party holds the Senate majority. Vice President Mike Pence was with her on Friday.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.