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Facebook Revenue Soars on Ad Growth

The social network on Wednesday said advertising revenue jumped 57% in the first quarter to $5.2 billion from $3.3 billion. Mobile ads, which command a higher price than those shown on desktops, accounted for roughly four-fifths of that revenue.

“Businesses are no longer asking if they should market on mobile, they’re asking how,” Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in an interview. “This is a shift that we think we’re very well-positioned to take advantage of and build on.”

Facebook’s user ranks grew to 1.65 billion from 1.44 billion in the first quarter last year. The company derived more revenue from each of them—an average of $3.32, compared with $2.50 a year earlier.

The stronger than expected results drove Facebook shares up 8.8% in after-hours trading, lifting the company’s market valuation above $330 billion.

Facebook also said its board had proposed creating a new class of nonvoting shares, designed to further cement founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s control over the company. The new Class C shares would have the same economic rights as other shares but wouldn’t have voting rights, allowing Facebook to distribute them to employees and through acquisitions without diluting Mr. Zuckerberg’s control. Google—now Alphabet Inc. GOOGL -0.54 % —made a similar move in 2014.

Facebook’s results bucked a trend of disappointing results from other tech companies. Tuesday, Apple Inc. AAPL -6.26 % reported its first quarterly drop in revenue in 13 years, while Twitter Inc. TWTR -16.28 % ’s first-quarter revenue fell short of expectations. Alphabet missed analysts’ expectations last week.

The results offered further evidence that Facebook is gaining traction with advertisers at a time when many are shifting funds from their print and...