Reports reveal Facebook intends to portion off £2.3bn ($3bn) in anticipation of a probe conducted by US authorities into data protection practice at the social network.

Even though the sum is high, Facebook fears the final bill may settle around the $5bn mark once investigations held by the US Federal Trade Commission have concluded.

Mark Zuckerberg’s firm has also revealed that the total sales for the first quarter of 2019 jumped 26%, up to $15.08bn, exceeding expectations of global markets. User numbers travelled in the same direction, though less dramatically, with an increase of 8%, leaving the total number of Facebook account holders at 2.38 billion.

Zuckerberg stated:

“We had a good quarter and our business and community continued to grow. We are focused on building out our privacy-focused vision for the future of social networking, and working collaboratively to address important issues around the internet.”

In the year to date, Facebook shares have climbed almost 40%, going beyond that achieved by the wider market, and were up almost 5% in late-day trading on Wall Street.

Further investigations regarding Facebook’s part in the Cambridge Analytica scandal loom on the horizon, but no outcomes have yet been released.

The social network has also come in for heavy criticism in New Zealand, where Facebook’s team were called “morally bankrupt pathological liars” by the country’s privacy commissioner. The comments were made following Facebook’s hosting of the livestream of the Christchurch massacre in which 50 citizens were murdered by a gunman.

In the wake of the attacks, Zuckerberg gave no indication that the platform’s live technology would undergo any reform, including time-delay features on livestreams which, if altered, could prevent similar material from being broadcast in future.

Last week, Facebook said that more Instagram account holders than had previously been disclosed had been hit by a security glitch. The popular image platform, which Facebook owns, had accidentally stored passwords of hundreds of millions of users without encryption protection.

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