Facebook shares fall amid slowdown in revenue and user growth

Facebook shares fall amid slowdown in revenue and user growth

Facebook shares fall amid slowdown in revenue and user growth

Facebook’s monthly active user count was 2.23 billion, slightly behind the 2.25 billion forecast by analysts.


Facebook shares were down (Niall Carson/PA)
Facebook shares were down (Niall Carson/PA)

Facebook shares fell by more than 20% after the company’s user growth and revenue missed investor expectations.

Shares in the company initially fell as much as 12% in after-hours trading, before losses peaked at 24% after the social network warned investors that growth would continue to decelerate.

Facebook’s monthly active user count was 2.23 billion, slightly behind the 2.25 billion forecast by analysts.

Although Facebook’s monthly active users were up 11% year-on-year, growth had fallen flat in the US and Europe, its key advertising markets. Europe’s fall was partly down to the roll-out of GDPR, the company told investors.

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Mark Zuckerberg (Chris Ratcliffe/PA)

Revenue estimates also fell short, reaching 13.3 billion US dollars, as the company continues to deal with fake news and privacy issues in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal by investing in improved safety and security controls.

“As I’ve said on past calls, we’re investing so much in security that it will significantly impact our profitability,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an earnings call.

“We’re starting to see that this quarter.”

Mr Zuckerberg’s own net worth also took a hit as a result of the share drop, losing 16.8 billion dollars in a day and knocking about a fifth off his net worth.

Facebook warned investors that it expected revenue gains to slow down because of users utilising options to limit advertising on the social network.

“Our total revenue growth rate decelerated approximately seven percentage points in Q2 compared to Q1,” warned chief financial officer David Wehner.

“Our total revenue growth rates will continue to decelerate in the second half of 2018, and we expect our revenue growth rates to decline by high single-digit percentages from prior quarters sequentially in both Q3 and Q4.”

Some analysts have also put the fall down to social media reaching its peak.

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(Chris Ratcliffe/PA)

“Teens are abandoning – or just not joining the site – as ‘oldies’ migrate there,” said Richard Holway, chairman at UK tech analyst house TechMarketView.

“Teens have been moving to Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. But now it looks as if overall usage is stalling.

“Indeed daily and monthly users in Europe actually fell for the first time ever in Q2. GDPR undoubtedly played a part here.”

One area Facebook had reason to celebrate was in its other platforms, especially Instagram, which reached a milestone of one billion active years this quarter.

“We believe Instagram has been able to use Facebook’s infrastructure to grow more than twice as quickly as it would have on its own,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“I’m really excited about video too, and this quarter we launched IGTV.

“People are watching less TV but more video, but most video is not yet optimised for mobile. IGTV will help solve that problem.”

Press Association

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