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Facebook parent Meta calms investors with strong profit

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Facebook parent Meta said more than 3 billion people use at least one of its services each month. (AFP/Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV) (Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV)
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Facebook parent Meta on Wednesday reported better profit than expected in the recently ended quarter, calming investors worried about the toll of competition from TikTok and eased pandemic restrictions on the company.

Meta said it made a profit of $7.5 billion on revenue of $27.9 billion in the first three months of this year, sending shares up more than 15 percent in after-market trading that followed release of the earnings figures.

"We made progress this quarter across a number of key company priorities and we remain confident in the long-term opportunities and growth that our product roadmap will unlock," said Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg.

The average number of people using Facebook monthly rose 3 percent to 2.94 billion by the end of March, while some 3.64 billion people used at least one member of Meta's family of apps each month, the tech giant reported.

Meta owns Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and virtual reality firm Oculus.

"More people use our services today than ever before, and I'm proud of how our products are serving people around the world," Zuckerberg said.

Investors had been worried that as the pandemic eased and people socialized more in real life that they would engage less on Facebook. There were also concerns about competition from video sharing sensation TikTok.

Zuckerberg has cited pressure from TikTok, and Facebook launched its own short-form video sharing feature Reels which has seen fast growth.

Expenses at Meta climbed 31 percent to $19.4 billion when compared with the same quarter a year earlier. Meta said that it ended the quarter with 77,805 employees, an increase of 28 percent from a year ago.

Meta has been investing heavily in a future that Zuckerberg believes will include people spending time in immersive virtual worlds referred to as the metaverse.

Doubts have swirled about whether the major metaverse investments will pay off for Meta, which changed its name from Facebook last year to highlight its shifting focus -- though critics claim it was to distract from negative media reports.

The metaverse is a 3D virtual world where people will be able to interact using sensors, head gear and other gadgets.

Meta's early metaverse platform, called Horizon Worlds, already allows people to socialize virtually while represented by avatars.

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