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Facebook Lets Peter Thiel Keep His Board Seat, Zuckerberg Talks China and Monetization

Facebook continues to draw staggering numbers of people to its platform, and generate an equal eye-popping amount of money.

During its annual stockholder meeting, Facebook (the intrepid can listen here) reaffirmed the board seat of Peter Thiel, the tech magnate who recently generated controversy for surreptitiously bankrolling the lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker. That suit, brought by Hulk Hogan after Gawker published excerpts of a sex tape featuring Hogan and the wife of his (former) best friend.

In his opening remarks, CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg said that the company has one billion users per day on its mobile Facebook app, and 1.65 billion monthly active users. The company generated “$5 billion” in revenue in the previous quarter.

CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg also fielded questions from the audience.

Asked by one gentleman how the company could assure conservative users of its platform that its “trending news” tab is not institutionally biased, COO Sheryl Sandberg maintained use of Facebook actually “broadens your views.”

On Facebook entering the Chinese market, Sandberg said the company is “learning and studying” the market, and will “see what happens.” She pointed out that she had been in China just the day before, working on growing Chinese advertising buys for markets outside of their home country. 

That discussion led to a (very) zoomed-out take on Facebook’s advertising segment. “We have the ability to show people the right ad at the right time,” said Sandberg, “and the shift to mobile” has been a boon because of the company’s strength on those devices. Zuckerberg continued, saying “people think about advertising as one thing, but it’s a huge market with different use cases,” and that customers like small businesses “have completely different needs.” The future of egagement with the platform and the augmentation fo the company’s ad business are entwined, as Zuckerberg alluded to by saying that “with AI in the future we’ll be able to read the text or watch the video and see if they align with your interests,” serving users “more relevant content” that will “deepen engagement.” Whether a news article or a ad, the result is the same.