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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

Mike Allen, author of AM
23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Anita Dunn advises Dems on economy message for '22

Signs from a President Biden event yesterday in Kansas City, Mo. Photo: Chase Castor/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a midterm preview, top Democratic strategist Anita Dunn advises the party's House and Senate members to frame Republicans "as being against the economic interests of working Americans."

What she's saying: "Explicitly framing Republicans as opposing policies to lower costs does better than simply framing Republicans as the 'party of no,'" Dunn, White House senior adviser until August, writes in the memo.

JPMorgan: "Full global recovery" in 2022

Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase Global Research says in a forecast to clients: "2022 will be the year of a full global recovery, an end of the global pandemic, and a return to normal conditions we had prior to the COVID-19 outbreak."

The big picture: The bullish report sees "a return of global mobility, and a release of pent-up demand from consumers (e.g. travel, services)."

Inside Trump's hunt for "disloyal" Republicans

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Donald Trump and his associates are systematically reshaping the Republican Party, working to install hand-picked loyalists across federal and state governments and destroy those he feels have been disloyal, sources close to the former president tell Axios.

Why it matters: If most or all of Trump’s candidates win, he will go into the 2024 election cycle with far more people willing to do his bidding who run the elections in key states.