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Facebook Beats on Earnings, Confirms New FTC Antitrust Probe

Despite a landmark $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission, Facebook’s business continues to hum along nicely. 

The company reported $16.9 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2019, beating Wall Street’s estimate of $16.5 billion and growing 28% from the year-ago period. Daily active users were up 8% to 1.59 billion for the Facebook app, and monthly users increased by the same percentage to 2.41 billion. Facebook estimates that more than 2.7 billion people use at least one of its apps each month.

Facebook also confirmed for the first time that it was notified by the FTC last month that the agency was opening an antitrust investigation into its business. Reports at the time said the FTC and Department of Justice had divided up antitrust probes of the tech giants, with the FTC taking jurisdiction over Facebook.

On the company’s earnings conference call, chief financial officer Dave Wehner cautioned investors to expect “more pronounced” revenue growth deceleration in the fourth quarter of the year and into 2020. Mr. Wehner cited ad-targeting “headwinds” due to regulation like GDPR in Europe and changes in “operating systems” that Facebook’s services run on. Apple, for example, recently debuted a feature that easily allows iPhone users to avoid giving their real email addresses when they sign into an app like Facebook.

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