Here's Why Facebook Just Hired One of Its Biggest Critics

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Revenues topped analysts' forecasts at $16.9 billion and earnings per share came in at $2.38, well above Wall Street's expectations of $2.19.

After 18 months of distraction defending itself over privacy and its role as a platform for electoral manipulation, Facebook Inc is focusing squarely on products after its strong fourth-quarter results won back investors, who sent its shares up almost 12 percent on Thursday. In response to a question during the earnings call regarding Stories ad adoption, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg reported two million advertisers were now using Stories ads - but did not clarify if those were Facebook Stories or Instagram Stories ad units.

Total revenue earned during the quarter was $16.9 billion, with daily active users (DAU) at 1.52 billion, up 9 percent year over year.

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Alongside its mission to build new experiences that "meaningfully improve people's lives", Zuckerberg said Facebook's other three priorities for 2019 are: to continue making progress on social issues; to keep building its business by supporting millions of mostly small businesses; and to communicate more transparently about "the role our services play in the world". The CEO said the area he's most excited about is Instagram shopping and commerce opportunities.

Analysts said Facebook is taking cue from the early success of its popular Stories feature and will invest significantly in getting more advertisers on board to the format, which has further upside in terms of pricing.

Facebook estimated that approximately 2.7 billion people use its "family" of services including Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and its core social network.

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Zuckerberg also confirmed plans to integrate all the company's messaging services-Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger-so they can chat with each other.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the F8 developer conference.

More than 90 million small businesses use Facebook, according to the social network. "There's a lot more we need to figure out before we finalize the plan", Zuckerberg said. "I think it's the direction that we should be going in with more things in the future", he told analysts.

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