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Gloucestershire Business News

Facebook earns £6.5bn despite bad press

Facebook has posted better-than-expected profits for the third quarter of this year, as it continues to face bad press over leaked internal documents.

The social media giant made $9bn (£6.5bn) of profit in the three months to September, up from $7.8bn last year.

The news comes amid fresh claims of unethical behaviour made by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen who has released a cache of internal documents to the public, alleging that Facebook put profit before user safety.

Multiple media reports say the documents show Facebook failed to moderate content that promoted hate speech and sex trafficking outside of the US, the BBC reported.

On Monday, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerburg told investors on a conference call: "What we are seeing is a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company."

In the 12 months to September 30, Facebook said its monthly user-base had grown 6% to 2.91 billion.

The world's largest social media network is under scrutiny from global lawmakers and regulators, including from the Federal Trade Commission, which has filed an antitrust lawsuit alleging anticompetitive practices.

The whistleblower documents, which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, have only intensified that pressure.

They include internal research about Instagram's effects on teen mental health; whether Facebook's platforms stoke division; and the social media giant's handling of the 6 January Capitol riot.

At a hearing on Monday, Ms Haugen told UK MPs that Facebook is "unquestionably making hate worse". She said Facebook safety teams were under-resourced, and that "Facebook has been unwilling to accept even little slivers of profit being sacrificed for safety".

MPs are considering what new rules to impose on big social networks under the planned Online Safety Bill.

Despite the allegations, shares in Facebook climbed by 1.3% in after-hours trading on Monday. The firm's stock is up by about 20% so far this year.

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