Facebook has become most Americans’ main source for news, and it now brings in more U.S. ad revenue than the country’s biggest media companies, according to an analysis from The Information.
The tech news site analyzed the company’s SEC filings and determined that Facebook made $9.1 billion in U.S. advertising revenue over the first three quarters of 2016. While that pales in comparison to Google’s $21.5 billion, for the first time, Facebook reeled in more ad dollars than Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, and Disney, parent of ABC and ESPN.
For the first three quarters, Comcast made $7.6 billion in ad revenue, and Disney earned $6.7 billion. Facebook took in a whopping $7 billion in worldwide advertising revenue this past quarter, as it continues to divert that business from media companies big and small.
Facebook’s domestic advertising revenue has grown dramatically over the last three years as a consistently expanding user base and increased emphasis on video has attracted more advertisers willing to splash out more cash on digital ads, which are often easier to target at consumers than TV or radio spots. Facebook made $3.6 billion in U.S. ad revenue during the first three quarters of 2014, and $5.5 billion for the corresponding period last year.
Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been under fire recently over the proliferation of blatantly fake news on the social network, which some critics and rival tech execs allege may have played a role in deciding the election. While Zuckerberg has repeatedly denied that Facebook is a media company — even though a Pew survey revealed that more than half of Americans get news from social media, with Facebook the dominant force — he recently outlined a seven-point plan to combat fake news.