Facebook earnings show continued growth, decline in profit

Higher costs ate into the company's profit and earnings per share

Facebook announced on Monday that its total revenue rose 45 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2012, but its profit fell 12 percent.

Facebook boosted revenue from US$731 million in the first quarter of last year to $1.06 billion in the quarter that ended March 31. Its net income fell from $233 million to $205 million, according to a Form S-1 that the company filed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

Perhaps more important to would-be stock buyers, the earnings per share on Facebook's existing, privately sold stock fell from $0.11 in the first quarter of 2011 to $0.09 in the quarter that just ended.

The company's costs nearly doubled in the same year-over-year comparison, from $343 million in 2011 to $677 million in 2012, accounting for the decline in profit.

But the social network's user base continues to grow, surpassing 900 million monthly active users in 2012. There are now 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook every day, according to the filing, highlighting one motive for Facebook's acquisition of photo-sharing app Instagram in early April.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission required Facebook to file the information as part of the company's preparation to hold an initial public stock offering in the next couple of months.

Cameron Scott covers search, web services and privacy for The IDG News Service. Follow Cameron on Twitter at CScott_IDG.

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