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What Data Scandal? Facebook Is Growing

MENLO PARK (CNN Money) -- So much for the campaign to Delete Facebook.

Facebook reported Wednesday that it reversed its first ever decline in daily active users in the US and Canada during the first three months of 2018 despite the backlash from a massive data scandal.

Facebook had 185 million daily users in the region as of the end of March, up from 184 million in the prior quarter. In total, Facebook added 48 million daily users globally during the quarter.

Facebook now has 1.45 billion daily active users worldwide and 2.2 billion monthly users, both of which are up 13% year over year.

The audience gains were revealed as part of Facebook's first earnings report since news of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal surfaced last month and upended the company, shaving off tens of billions of its market value.

Daniel Ives, an analyst with GBH Insights, said in an investor note Wednesday that the user figures were "a relief given fears of missing this number were running rampant."

The stock rose 4% in after hours trading Wednesday following the earnings release.

Related: Facebook tries to clarify how it collects data when you're not on Facebook

"Despite facing important challenges, our community and business are off to a strong start in 2018," Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, said in a statement Wednesday.

Facebook posted nearly $12 billion in revenue for the first three months of 2018, up nearly 50% from the same period a year earlier, fueled by its ad sales strength on mobile products.

The company also said it has approved a plan to boost its share buyback program by $9 billion. Facebook previously said it would repurchase $6 billion of stock.

Heading into the earnings result, analysts were concerned about how much an ongoing backlash among users, advertisers and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic could slow down a company once viewed as unstoppable.

Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to President Donald Trump's campaign, accessed information from as many as 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge. The data debacle came to light late in the quarter, meaning the impact may be felt more in the quarters to come.

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