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(Reuters) — Facebook Inc shares dipped from a record high on Wednesday after the world’s biggest online social network warned investors once again that its advertising revenue growth would likely come down from current high levels.
The warning appeared to outweigh Facebook’s surging quarterly profit and revenue, fueled by growth in its mobile ad business, which is still not showing much sign of slowing down as the company nears the five-year anniversary of its initial public offering.
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement it was a “good start to 2017.”
Facebook’s shares fell 2.7 percent in after-hours trading to $147.60. They had closed at an all-time high of $153.60 on Tuesday.
Chief Financial Officer David Wehner said on a conference call after the earnings announcement that the company expects its ad revenue growth to come down significantly over the rest of 2017, repeating prior company warnings that it is hitting a limit in “ad load,” or the number of ads it can squeeze onto users’ pages before upsetting them.
Facebook said quarterly profit rose 76.6 percent year-over year to $3.06 billion and total revenue went up 49 percent to $8.03 billion.
The company caused some brief confusion on Wall Street by only issuing numbers conforming to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) without warning. Previously it also issued non-GAAP numbers, which it had said provided greater transparency and were closely watched by investors and analysts.
The social media giant is expected to generate $31.94 billion in mobile ad revenue globally in 2017, up 42.1 percent from a year earlier, according to research firm eMarketer.
That would give Facebook a 22.6 percent share of the worldwide mobile ad market, with archrival Google of Alphabet Inc projected to be the leader with a 35.1 percent share, according to eMarketer.
Facebook continued its march toward the 2 billion user threshold, saying it had some 1.94 billion people using its service monthly as of March 31. That was up 17 percent from a year earlier.
Analysts on average had expected monthly active users of 1.91 billion, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.
Net income attributable to Facebook shareholders rose to $3.06 billion, or $1.04 per share, in the first quarter from $1.73 billion, or 60 cents per share, a year earlier.
Mobile ad revenue accounted for about 85 percent of the company’s total advertising revenue of $7.86 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, compared with about 82 percent a year earlier.
Analysts on average had expected total ad revenue of $7.68 billion, according to FactSet.
Earlier in the day, Zuckerberg said the company would add 3,000 people over the next year to monitor and remove murders, suicides and other inappropriate material from its network, which have become a threat to Facebook’s valuable public image.
(Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru and David Ingram in San Francisco; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Bill Rigby)
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