Despite what seems like a neverending barrage of privacy missteps at Facebook, users aren’t abandoning the social network. Instead, Facebook’s fourth quarter financial report show that it continues to grow, with the number of monthly active users jumping 9% to 2.23 billion during the quarter from the same period a year earlier. It even managed to eke out a little growth in a category that has been flat most of this year—daily U.S. users, which rose 1% to 186 million from a year earlier. Advertising revenue jumped 30% to $16.6 billion from the year ago period and 38% to $55 billion for the full year. While up significantly, the growth rate has gradually come down over the past year, from 50% in the first quarter of the year to 33% in the third quarter. The company’s stock jumped nearly 9% after-hours.
The continued growth fits with our own conversations with advertisers, many of whom have expressed concerns over the controversies but say there are few alternatives to the value that Facebook’s targeted advertising provides. Today’s financial report may explain why Facebook executives have been so resistant to demands that they change how they collect and use personal data.