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Facebook profits soar, ‘VR is for the future’

Shares in Facebook have hit record highs after its latest financial results smashed expectations, with profits rising threefold.

The first quarter numbers beat analysts’ forecasts with the social network, also the owner Instagram, reporting net profits of $1.5 billion compared to over $500 million in the same period last year.

Total revenue rose to $5.4 billion from $3.5 billion while daily active users hit 1.1 billion on average in March – up 16 per cent – with those using mobile devices nearing the one billion mark at 989 million.

That represented an increase of 24 per cent, Facebook said, adding that it was also making more from mobile ad revenues.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told investors: “We had a great start to the year. We’re focused on our 10-year roadmap to give everyone in the world the power to share anything they want with anyone.”

Meanwhile, on the subject of virtual reality (VR), Zuckerberg said he sees the technology as “a long, long-term bet rather than a way to make a quick buck on 3D games”, adding “This is early and it’s going to take a long time […] while VR, like AI and Internet connectivity are important to our mission of connecting the world, they may not pay out for years to come.”

Facebook CFO David Wehner also commented: “VR will not have a material impact on revenue in 2016.”

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