Facebook stock gained ground in after-hours trading following the company’s release of stronger-than expected third-quarter results.
It was another newsy day for a company seldom out of the headlines. Earlier Wednesday, it announced it had removed dozens of accounts linked to ill-intentioned forces based in Russia.
In the quarter, Facebook reported total income of $2.12 per share, up from $1.76 in the year-earlier quarter and far above the $1.91 expected by Wall Street analysts. Total revenue reached $17.65 billion, up a stellar 29% from the third quarter a year ago. Analysts’ consensus called for $17.37 billion.
Shares in Facebook shot up 5% after hours after closing the regular trading day at $188.25, down 1%. By and large, as the company has faced greater and greater scrutiny over how it patrols its platform, possible anti-competitive behavior and how it affects the outcome of elections, investors remain onboard with the company’s story. Facebook stock is up 38% in 2019 to date, a year that has featured several brushes with Congress and regulatory agencies around the world, plus Democratic presidential candidates calling for a break-up of the company and other tech giants.
In a blog post regarding the account removals, the company said it yanked 35 Facebook accounts, seven Groups and five Instagram accounts that originated in Russia. The accounts had focused on destabilizing Madagascar, the Central African Republic, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon.
The accounts are associated with Russian financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who Facebook said was previously indicted by the U.S. Justice Department. The company said it relayed its findings to law enforcement, policymakers and industry partners.