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Business

Facebook thrives on mobile ad sales, expenses weigh on profits

Strong ad sales for mobile devices boosted the social media giant's overall revenue by 42 percent in the first quarter. But profit fell as the company upped spending on research.

Overall revenues jumped 42 percent to $3.5 billion (3.28 billion euros), led by strong sales in advertising inserted in people's feeds. Mobile sales account for nearly three-quarters of ad sales.

Facebook also attracted more users - it had 1.44 billion monthly active users as of March, up 13 percent from a year earlier. The number of those who used mobile devices to access Facebook at least once a month grew by 24 percent to 1.25 billion.

But net income fell as expenses grew by 83 percent from a year earlier. The company earned $512 million, down 20 percent from $642 million. Facebook, which bought messaging service WhatsApp and photo-sharing app Instagram, is investing heavily in research for its own mobile apps, so far with limited success.

The company has just introduced "Hello,"

a voice-calling app

, and has said it will continue to experiment with mobile apps.

Despite CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg's insistence that Facebook had "a strong start to the year," shares fell in after-hours trading in New York. Facebook missed analysts' expectations of sales for the first time since early 2013. They are concerned about a slowdown in overall revenue growth.

ng/hg (AP, AFP)

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