Facebook may still be able to fool most people most of the time, with gullible investors ready to believe that there were 1.393 billion monthly active addicts who just have to tell the world how their day went, of which 208 million were in the US and Canada, which is more than every single working-age American and Canadian, but where the magic of Facebook's just reported earnings of $0.54 can truly be appreciated, is in the absolutely magical breakdown between GAAP and non-GAAP for the net income microblogging service.
The punchline: Facebook reported $1,133 billion in GAAP earnings: exactly the same as a year ago. What happened to non-GAAP income from operations during the same period? It rose from $1.5 billion to $2.2 billion. Again: this is in a period in which GAAP income remained unchanged!
As for real, GAAP EPS, it was... drumroll... $0.25, or less than half of the mark-to-unicorn number that only FB shareholders, if not advertisers, can love.
Why does this matter? Because while Facebook can fool all the ostriches with their heads happily stuck in the sand, for as long as they all want, and pretend non-GAAP EPS is surging, what matters at the end of the day are profits. Real profits. GAAP profits.
So where did the adjustments, which amounted to $0.29 per share on GAAP EPS of $0.25 per share, come from? Well, everywhere...
... and to a great extent: tax gimmicks.