Facebook reports increase in daily users in North America, rebounding from drop late last year

Key Points
  • Facebook reported 185 million daily active users in North America, an increase from the fourth quarter.
Big tech earnings' impact on the market
Big tech earnings' impact on the market

Facebook's daily active users in North America rose slightly last quarter to 185 million, a sign that the company's News Feed algorithm tweaks and data privacy issues may not have deterred consumers.

The company posted its latest quarterly earnings on Wednesday after the bell. Its new DAU figures are up from 184 million in the fourth quarter, marking less than a 1 percent change but, more importantly, a return to third-quarter levels. Overall Facebook averaged 1.45 billion daily active users in March 2018, an increase of 13 percent year over year.

It also reported first-quarter earnings per share of $1.69, above analyst estimates. Revenue for the quarter was $11.97 billion. Shares were up slightly after the news.

Facebook experienced its first decline in North American DAUs in the fourth quarter of 2017. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also said at the time algorithm tweaks over the previous year had led to people spending 5 percent less time on its service, or about 50 million hours per day. Changes included showing fewer viral videos and focusing on showing more "meaningful social interactions," which the company argued would increase valuable engagement time.

Amid the News Feed updates, Facebook also found itself tied up in data privacy issues after it was reported that political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica may have used improperly obtained user information to target voters during the 2016 U.S. election. The news led to a #deleteFacebook movement, which urged users to get rid of their accounts. Zuckerberg said in testimony to Congress that there has not been a "dramatic falloff" in Facebook users since the news broke.

The story came out in March so only two weeks of behavior were reflected in the report.