What happened

Controversy can't keep Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) down. Even as the company dealt with its role in spreading fake news, ongoing privacy concerns, and its possible inadvertent part in the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, the social media giant continued to grow.

Facebook gained nearly $4 billion in revenue in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. The company took in $11.7 billion versus $7.8 billion in Q1 2017.

User counts went up as well. Daily active users rose 13% to 1.45 billion while monthly active users rose by the same percentage to reach 2.2 billion. In addition, the company reported that mobile ad revenue accounted for 91% of the total, up from 85% in the year-ago period.

A billboard shows a Facebook thumbs up.

Facebook added daily and monthly users in Q1. Image source: Facebook.

So what

The social media leader appears immune to negative publicity. The company may be in the news for the wrong reasons, but users continue to flock to the company's properties, and advertisers follow. CEO Mark Zuckerberg did address the company's efforts to protect user data during the Q1 earnings call.

"We are going through every part of our relationship with people and making sure we're taking a broad enough view of our responsibilities -- not just to build tools, but to make sure those tools are used for good," Zuckerberg said. "This means continuing to invest heavily in safety, security, and privacy. Some of this will come in the form of new technology."

Those efforts appear to be enough for investors. Shares of the company closed 2017 at $176.46 and rose to $194.32 at the end of June 2018, a 10% gain, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Now what

Facebook has shown that it's nearly irreplaceable in people's lives. That gives the company a lot of freedom when it comes to handling its problems and scandals. The company faced its fair share of problems and negative publicity in the first half of 2018, but it experienced little in the way of negative business impact.

There may be a tipping point that causes users to stay away, but Zuckerberg appears to be pulling his company away from that point. Growth may slow due to the company's already massive reach, but Facebook is unlikely to backslide until a competitor comes along that gives its audience an alternative.

Daniel B. Kline owns shares of Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.