Facebook profits surging 'faster than expected'

Facebook is generating profits at a faster-than-expected rate, and will likely attract so many investors this year that it will have to disclose financial data similar to a publicly traded company by April 2012, according to a document distributed by Goldman Sachs.

The move could set the stage for a much-anticipated Facebook initial public offering in 2012, though there is no guarantee that the social networking company would choose to sell shares to the public simply because it is required to open its books to the public.

Facebook, the world's number one internet social network, earned $355m in net income in the first nine months of 2010 on revenue of $1.2 billion, according to a source who received the documents that Goldman Sachs provided to its clients on Thursday.