Facebook 4Q16 Earnings Call Notes

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Mark Elliot Zuckerberg – Facebook, Inc.

taking on fake news

“In the past, we’ve taken steps to reduce spam and clickbait, and now we’re approaching misinformation and hoaxes the same way. In Q4, we started working with third-party fact-checkers in the U.S. to flag disputed stories and make them less likely to appear in News Feed. We’ve made it easier to report and identify misinformation and we’re working to build stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry. Our primary goal here is to do the right thing for our community. If we can help people stay informed and make Facebook a better place to understand what’s going on in the world, then we think that’s going to make our community stronger and a more positive force for good in the world.”

We have 3x as many messages sent per day on WhatsApp and Messenger than peak SMS

“My understanding from looking at a bunch of analytics is that the peak of global SMS reached somewhere in the low 20 billion messages per day, and we already have many times more than that. Three times or more, more than that across WhatsApp and Messenger. And, of course, there are other messaging products in the world besides these as well. So we’re pretty confident that this is going to keep on growing.”

We can train AI to make sure objectionable content stays off the network

“Another area where I’m really excited about this is our ability to keep the community safe, right? So there’s an increasing focus on objectionable content, right, and a lot of unfortunate things, right, that people share on Facebook. And it’s a minority of the content, but I’m really focused on making sure that our company gets faster at taking the bad stuff down. And we can do better with people, but ultimately the best thing that we can do is build AI systems that can watch a video and understand that it’s going to be problematic and violate the policies of our community and that people aren’t going to want to see it and then just not show it to people before bad experiences happen and things like violence gets spread through – violent content gets spread through the network.”

Sheryl K. Sandberg – Facebook, Inc.

David M. Wehner – Facebook, Inc.

Mobile represents 84% of rev

“Mobile ad revenue was $7.2 billion, up 61%, and represented approximately 84% of total ad revenue. Desktop ad revenue grew 22%, despite a decline in desktop usage, helped by our efforts to limit the impact of ad blockers on advertisements served on personal computers.”

We continue to expect that our ad revenue growth rate will come down meaningfully in 2017

“Consistent with my comments on the Q3 call, we continue to expect that our ad revenue growth rate will come down meaningfully in 2017. The factors driving this expectation remain the same. We also expect that our full year 2017 payments and other fees revenue will decline compared to full year 2016.”

Expect expenses to ramp meaningfully

“Consistent with what I said last quarter, we expect that 2017 will be an aggressive investment year. We saw hiring growth accelerate in Q4, and we plan to accelerate hiring further in 2017 from the 34% growth rate. In addition to head count, we expect to increase investments in R&D, content, sales and marketing and other areas as we execute on our near, medium and long-term priorities. We expect that full year 2017 total GAAP expenses will grow 40% to 50% compared to the full year 2016.”

Opportunities for price

“In terms of the opportunities for price, it’s really just continuing to focus on making our ads better targeted, more relevant, improving all the different ways in which we can drive better outcomes for our advertisers and sort of meeting them with the results that they care about and delivering those results. We think there’s – continue to be great opportunities to do that, and how the supply-demand dynamics play out will kind of impact the overall direction of price. And it’s going to depend obviously also on regional mixes too, because some regions have obviously lower prices”

Have built the engineering infrastructure to hire in several locations

” One thing that we’re optimistic about is our ability to hire technical talent outside of the Bay Area as well as in the Bay Area. And that’s because we’ve built up engineering locations in key areas like Seattle, London, New York, Boston, Tel Aviv. So we’ve got other markets in which we can recruit and grow engineering and other technical team. And that’s really different from where we were a couple years ago. So that’s an important part of the infrastructure that we’ve put in place in the last two years that we’re pleased with.”