The up-to-$5-billion fine Facebook may have to pay the Federal Trade Commission is what journalists call a man-bites-dog story. It is remarkable, newsworthy, and otherwise unusual that the online publisher thinks it will be punished by a Trumpian regulatory agency for violating an earlier privacy agreement. The potential fine, because it is so extraordinary, dominated news coverage of Facebook's quarterly financial results, released Wednesday.
I encourage you this morning instead to pay attention to the dog-bites-man aspect of the Facebook's news, the humdrum account of what Facebook accomplished financially. Revenues jumped 26% to $15 billion. Companywide monthly active users ticked up 8% to 2.38 billion. Facebook employs nearly 38,000 people, 36% more than the year before. It generated $9.3 billion in cash from operations, an 18% increase from the year before.