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Facebook records $9bn profit in recent quarter amid whistleblower revelations

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File: Facebook registers 6 per cent increase in daily active users in third quarter  (AFP via Getty Images)
File: Facebook registers 6 per cent increase in daily active users in third quarter (AFP via Getty Images)

Facebook has made a profit of $9bn (£6.5bn) in the third quarter of the financial year, even as the company continues to face bad press and scrutiny by the US Congress over leaked internal documents.

The social media giant registered a 6 per cent increase in daily active users during this period and a revenue growth to about $29bn (£21bn) for three months up to September, Facebook noted in its Monday earnings report.

The profits are up from the $7.8bn (£5.7bn) it made during the same quarter last year, helping lift the company’s shares by more than 2 per cent in extended trading on Monday.

News of the company’s profits comes amid bad press it continues to face after former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked internal documents alleging the company prioritised profits over people’s well-being and hid its own research on user safety from investors and the public.

Complaints made by Ms Haugen to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) include how Facebook continues to prioritise growing its audience despite internal research indicating its platforms could harm children and its failure to curb the spread of hate speech in regional languages, leading to real-world political violence.

The company continues to face scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators, including the US Federal Trade Commission, which has re-filed an antitrust lawsuit arguing that Facebook has a monopoly over social networking and should be forced to sell Instagram and WhatsApp.

While Facebook has realised India and several other developing nations are “at risk”, Ms Haugen said it didn’t have enough local language moderators and content-flagging protocols to stop misinformation that leads to real-world violence on several occasions.

Appearing before the UK parliament on Monday, the 37-year-old data scientist and former Facebook employee said events like the 6 January US Capitol riot as well as riots and genocides in Myanmar and Ethiopia are the “opening chapters” of worse events if action is not taken against the platform.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, during an investors’ call on Monday, said the leaks were a “coordinated effort” to create a false picture about the company.

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