The social media giant's stock price has recovered almost all its year-to-date losses to trade almost flat for the year. The key question now is whether the company can maintain the high growth rate it has enjoyed in the last few years.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced lockdowns and border closures in multiple countries around the world. As almost a third of the world's population hunkers down at home, the usage of videoconferencing tools, on-demand TV, and social media will inevitably rise. This explains why Zoom Video (NASDAQ:ZM) and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) have also done well during this crisis.
During Facebook's first-quarter earnings conference call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave a glimpse of the usage spike Facebook's apps are experiencing during this period. There are now more than 3 billion people actively using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger every month. In areas hit hardest by the virus, the messaging volume has increased more than 50% and voice and video calls have more than doubled across the Messenger and WhatsApp platforms.
Zuckerberg was quick to add that this spike should be temporary, though I believe some of its positive effects will continue to linger on even after stay-at-home restrictions are lifted. With significantly more people using Facebook's services, the social media giant will be able to attract more advertisers, thereby increasing its advertising revenue for the long term.
Facebook announced yet another strong quarter at the end of April, with total revenue up 18% year over year and net income doubling to $4.9 billion as costs and expenses stayed relatively flat. It seems that nothing can stop this giant from rumbling on.
Facebook has been doing good during this outbreak by committing over $300 million to help the broader community. This includes a $100 million grant program and also the investment of $100 million to help the news industry.
The company has also launched a COVID-19 information center to educate users with real-time information and health tips. Donations to the tune of $20 million to support relief efforts and $25 million to support healthcare workers on the front-line show that management is active in giving back to society. This should convince investors that Facebook is not all just about profits, but is also socially conscious.