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Facebook shares leap with profit jump

Facebook said on Wednesday that profit soared in 2013 on the back of sizzling mobile ad revenue as the social network's membership continued to swell.

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook said on Wednesday that profit soared in 2013 on the back of sizzling mobile ad revenue as the social network's membership continued to swell.

The world's biggest social network said profit in the fourth quarter jumped eightfold from a year earlier to $523 million, bringing the full-year profit to $1.5 billion.

Revenues in the past quarter rose to $2.58 billion and $7.87 billion for the year.

Facebook shares rallied more than nine percent in after-hours trading to $58.80 after release of the earnings figures.

"It was a great end to the year for Facebook," said Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

"We're looking forward to our next decade, and to helping connect the rest of the world."

Menlo Park, California-based Facebook will mark its 10th birthday on February 4.

Facebook said the number of monthly active users rose 16 percent from a year ago to 1.23 billion, with 945 million using mobile devices.

Revenue from advertising surged to $2.34 billion in the quarter, up 76 percent over the past year. Mobile advertising revenue represented some 53 percent of that, up from 23 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The surge in revenue from members accessing Facebook from smartphones or tablet computers served as a validation of sorts for Zuckerberg and his team.

Facebook made a dismal stock market debut in May of 2012, with shares plunging due to fears the social network wouldn't be able to make money from members shunning desktop computers for mobile devices.

Since then, however, Facebook has lifted its profits, and boosted the mobile segment of ad revenues.

A recent Pew Research Center survey found 73 percent of Americans over age 18 on the Internet use at least one social network - or about 63 percent of the total adult population.

Facebook is the preferred network, used by 71 percent of online adults, or 57 percent of all American adults, according to Pew researchers.

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