Facebook beats 2020 third quarter revenue expectations, but its shares fall slightly on doubts about its business - Facebook announced better-than-expected revenue data in the third quarter, although it showed a drop in its active users in the United States and Canada in the last three months.

Revenues of 21,500 million dollars (18,400 million euros) represent year-on-year growth of 22%, which shows that the company is starting to recover from the impact of the coronavirus.

Although the pandemic initially showed a decline in investment in digital advertising, the recovery has changed the trend in recent months, something important for platforms such as Facebook, whose revenues are very important based on advertising spending.

These are the main data announced by Facebook and the comparison with what Wall Street analysts expected, according to Bloomberg data.

- Revenue: 21,470 million dollars (18,400 million euros), year-on-year increase of 22 per cent. Dólares 19,840 million (€16,990 million) was expected.
- Daily active users: 1.820 million people, 12% more than a year ago. 1.780 million were expected
- Monthly active users: 2.740 million people, 12% more. 2.7 billion were expected.
- Earnings per share: 2.71 dollars (2.32 euros). Dólares 1.91 (1.63 euros) was expected.

These data show that Facebook's user base could have moderated its growth. The platform admitted a strange decrease in monthly and active users in the United States and Canada compared to the previous quarter. According to Mark Zuckerberg's company, this is because in the second quarter the data was "elevated" by the momentum of the pandemic, and he admitted that he expects a similar trend in the fourth quarter. However, the company improved its revenue per user in the region, from segundo 9,291 per user (7,958 euros) in the second quarter to dólares 10,137 (8,683 euros).

Zuckerberg explained to investors who hope to boost the virtual reality area by selling more than 10 million devices "in the coming years." Facebook expects this area of business to be "self-sufficient" because the number of users will be so important that developers will want to make content for their Oculus platform.

"Augmented reality will be a little more complicated, "admitted the CEO of Facebook, because the technological difficulty of augmented reality devices is greater and it is more difficult that it"has style and is socially acceptable."

Facebook beats 2020 third quarter revenue expectations

Zuckerberg also referred to attempts to regulate the tech industry, in which he reiterated his claim that strict regulations are made even if they can harm his business, as well as considered that content moderation will require companies to have "incentives" to minimize the amount of aggressive content that people see.

Facebook continues to receive criticism over its handling of political content on the platform, less than a week before the US presidential election. The social network has already received an advertiser boycott for its policies during the second and third quarters, but it is still early to know if this will have a significant impact on its business.

The Facebook Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger company announced last quarter that it had overcome the barrier of 3.000 million monthly active users among all its applications, which include Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Facebook beats 2020 third quarter revenue expectations

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Getting vaccinated against the flu could reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, early data suggests

As winter approaches, people are preparing for an imminent double pandemic: the threat of coronavirus and flu.

In the last month, coronavirus cases have increased worldwide. Meanwhile, the onset of cold and dry winter weather in the northern hemisphere heralds the beginning of the flu season. So public health officials in the United States and Europe are pushing people to get vaccinated against the flu. Seasonal vaccines reduce the risk of getting the flu by up to 60%, and also reduce the severity of the disease in case of getting it.

But the vaccine can produce another important benefit: it can reduce the chances of contracting COVID-19.

A new preliminary study, first reported by Scientific American, reveals that health workers who received the flu vaccine before the 2019-2020 season were 39% less likely to test positive for coronavirus in June.

"Flu vaccination can contribute not only to the reduction of the disease, but also to the burden of COVID-19 patients on the health system," the study authors write.

For the new study, researchers have examined data from about 10, 600 employees of the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Of that group, they found that 184 health workers had tested positive for coronavirus by June 1. So they watched Who of all the employees had been vaccinated against the flu during the winter.

The study authors identified that 2.23% of health workers who had not been vaccinated against the flu tested positive for COVID-19, while only 1.33% of vaccinated employees did.

Two other recent studies from Italy point to a similar trend: coronavirus rates turned out to be lower among Italians over the age of 65 who had been vaccinated against the flu.

The findings also coincide with previous research suggesting that even vaccines targeting a specific virus, such as measles or polio, can help train the body to also fight other invaders.

When a person gets sick, the immune system produces antibody proteins that recognize and neutralize that virus, and then remember that virus the next time it invades, which is known as an adaptive immune response. But the body also possesses an innate immune response-a faster and more general defense of white blood cells against any pathogens. Vaccines can help increase the capacity of that innate immune response through a process called trained immunity.

Trained immunity is when the body's innate immune cells are reprogrammed to react more quickly and efficiently to future invasions due to exposure to germs over time, such as a bomb being prepared.

The authors of the new study also investigated what happens when human blood cells are exposed to the flu vaccine and then become infected with the coronavirus. They concluded that cells exposed to the vaccine developed a better trained immune response to the coronavirus than cells not exposed. This was mainly due to the production of immune proteins called cytokines that fight infections.

The researchers also tried to expose the cells to the flu vaccine and the BCG vaccine, which attacks tuberculosis. Exposure to both vaccines created a synergistic effect, according to the results, further increasing the production of cytokines from the cells.

All that has to happen before the world's population can receive a dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Experts say more testing is needed to determine if there really is a relationship between the flu vaccine and a lower risk of contracting the coronavirus.

"This is an intriguing study, but it does not provide definitive evidence," tells Scientific American Ellen Foxman, an immunobiologist at Yale School of Medicine who was not involved in the study.

There could be other reasons why health workers who did not get vaccinated against the flu ended up with slightly higher rates of COVID-19. It is possible, for example, that people who were vaccinated against the flu simply were also more likely to take more precautions during the pandemic, Foxman notes.

Health workers in the study also had varying levels of direct contact with hospital patients, which could have affected the results. And the researchers didn't collect information about whether workers had other health conditions that increased their risk, so that could also be a factor.

"As for telling people to get the flu shot because it can protect you from COVID, it's a bit of a stretch right now," Foxman warns.

But he adds that you should get vaccinated against the flu anyway, since, Of course, it will "protect you from the flu."

About 0.1% of people who contracted the flu died in the United States last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's five to ten times lower than the COVID-19 infection mortality rate.

But the flu is not child's play. Each year, seasonal flu kills tens of thousands of Americans. Last year, there were more than 18 million flu-related medical visits and 405,000 hospitalizations in the United States

According to the World Health Organization, between 290,000 and 650,000 flu-related deaths occur each year worldwide.

Unlike the new coronavirus, the flu virus mutates very quickly, leading to the emergence of new strains that undermine people's immunity. That's why we have to get flu shots every year, and that's also why flu shots aren't always 100% effective.

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