Facebook now boasts more than 3 billion monthly active users across its applications.
This was revealed by company CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a call to analysts following the release of Facebook’s results for the first quarter of 2020.
“For the first time ever, there are now more than 3 billion people actively using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger each month,” Zuckerberg said.
Monthly active users on the Facebook app itself increased 10% from 2.38 billion in Q1 2019 to 2.6 billion in Q1 2020.
Daily active users averaged 1.73 billion in March 2020, an increase of 11% year-over-year.
Challenging times ahead
Facebook generates revenue primarily through its online advertising business.
The company beat analyst estimates to post revenue of $17.74 billion and net income of $4.9 billion in Q1 2020.
However, Zuckerberg said Facebook anticipated a “meaningful economic hit” in the coming months due to the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on advertising.
“I remain very concerned that this health emergency and therefore the economic fallout will last longer than people are currently anticipating,” Zuckerberg said.
The company said that advertising revenue during the first three weeks of April had remained flat.
According to analysts, this could be an indication of tough times ahead for online advertising.
The pandemic has also impacted production of Facebook’s hardware products, including its Portal video calling devices and Oculus VR headsets.
Revenue from these devices between January and March 2020 grew 80% to $297 million when compared to Q1 2019’s $165 million.
Increased traffic and fake news
Facebook previously reported a massive increase in users in countries severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
In late March, the company said many regions had measured a 50% increase in total messaging, while voice and video calling had doubled on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
The surge in traffic meant it had to implement measures which included the reduction of video bitrates on Facebook and Instagram.
As traffic increased, Facebook has also had to deal with a flood of posts containing coronavirus misinformation and fake news.
To combat this, it launched a dedicated COVID-19 Information Centre portal with links to credible and official sources and posts.
It is also flagging and placing warnings on articles that contain false information and removing posts with dangerous advice that can potentially cause physical harm.
Additionally, it will warn users if they have previously engaged with such content.