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Facebook profits plunge by a fifth as buyouts soak up Zuck's cash

Cheer up Mark: sales nearly doubled at your content farm

Profits at global ad platform Facebook plunged by 20 per cent on the year to $512m (£341m) for the company's first quarter, as it shelled out vast amounts of cash in pursuit of world domination.

Costs and expenses for the first quarter of 2015 were $2.61bn (£1.74bn), an increase of 83 per cent from the first quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, sales rose 46 per cent to $3.54bn (£2.3bn).

Facebook said its WhatsApp acquisition contributed significantly to its increase in costs. In February 2014 it bought the app company, spending $19bn (£11.4bn) in cash and shares.

The company said it intends to pursue a "family of apps strategy", said CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "Messaging is a big priority for us," he added.

Zuck said Facebook's plans to bring a "free" internet to developing countries via its pursuit "continue to gather momentum".

However, he made no mention of the recent flight of a number of Indian companies from the scheme on grounds it is anti-competitive.

Daily unpaid content producers users were 936 million on average for March 2015, an increase of 17 per cent on the previous year, said the company.

Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 73 per cent of total advertising revenue, up from approximately 59 per cent in the first quarter of 2014, said the company.

The company has made a number of acquisitions over the last year. In March 2014 it bought virtual-reality startup Oculus VR for $2bn (£1.3bn), while in July last year it bought online video advertising platform Live Rail for about $500m (£292m).

In April 2012 the company bought photo-sharing app maker Instagram for $1bn £667m) - without telling the Facebook board.

Research and development spending more than doubled, to $1.06bn (£707m). Outside acquisitions Facebook said this was the area that saw the biggest increase in staff headcount, which climbed by 48 per cent to 10,082 in total. ®

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