Indians can't get enough of Facebook despite all controversies


  • Facebook’s earnings call on Wednesday reported a 9% increase in daily active users.
  • Growth of users from US and Canada has flatlined by is surging in countries like India.
  • It’s surprising that users are growing considering that 2018 was a controversy ridden year for Facebook.
Facebook’s popularity might not be growing at home, but it’s surging in countries like India, Indonesia and the Philippines, according to its 2018 earnings call on Wednesday.

During the last quarter, its active user base barely increased in the US and Canada, but the daily active users shot up to 1.52 billion — an increase of 9% from 2017 — thanks to the growth of users in India.


David Wehner, Facebook’s CFO, also popped a surprise announcement the company might not be disclosing ‘Facebook-only’ metrics anymore but presenting statistics for its family of apps — that includes Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger.

"We believe these numbers better reflect the size of our community and the fact that many people are using more than one of our services. For the time being, we will continue to disclose both sets of numbers, but over time we expect family metrics will play the primary role in how we talk about our company, and we will eventually phase out Facebook-only community metrics."

David Wehner, Facebook’s CFO on the company’s Q4 2018 earnings call

Thriving despite the odds

Not only have the users on Facebook increased despite its scandals and data breaches, but its advertisement revenue has increased as well.

In 2018 — in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, fake news, and alleged unethical behaviour — campaigns were run to dissuade people from aligned themselves with the tech giant.

Despite the volatility, Facebook’s profits in 2018 were up by nearly 40% compared to 2017.

"We know we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us. We need to continue to do better at anticipating the risks that come from connecting so many people. And we need to earn back people’s trust – not with words alone, but with actions."

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO on the company’s Q4 2018 earnings call

Its outlook for India may look positive but that doesn’t take away from the fact that things are going to get a whole lot tougher for Facebook — as well as of its affiliates Instagram and Whatsapp.

The fact that it’s attracting so much attention as a ‘dominant global internet power’ could lead it down the path of Yahoo — a company that was once thriving and leading the online world that has since ebbed into dissolution.

It’s not that Facebook’s anywhere close to where Yahoo’s decline started but its questionable data-collection practices and unclear mandate for monitoring of digital messages could spell trouble.

Last year, the government in India has already said that it’s contemplating banning social networking apps like Facebook and Whatsapp in the country.

And, just two days ago, TechCrunch exposed that Facebook has been bribing users — some of whom were underage — for access to their data to help the company better understand ‘consumption patterns’.

See also:
Advertisers are still pumping money into Facebook, even as the company is under fire over growing security and data concerns

Facebook endured a staggering number of scandals and controversies in 2018 - here they all are

Apple and Facebook may hate each other, but neither company can afford to go to war
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