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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Facebook Loses Users for the First Time in 17 Years

Facebook has been involved in a number of disputes in recent years. However, the user base of the company, which was just brought under new parent Meta, is declining. This is the first time in Facebook’s 17-year history that the number of users has actually decreased.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, Facebook lost approximately half a million global daily users, according to a quarterly analysis provided by Meta. Though the figure isn’t particularly impressive when compared to the company’s current user base of 1.93 billion, it marks the company’s first low point. It also owns the instant messaging service WhatsApp and the photo-sharing app Instagram.

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According to The Verge, the biggest drop in daily active users (about 1 million) occurred in North America, which is also where it makes the most money from advertising. User growth was “basically flat” across other Meta apps like WhatsApp and Instagram, according to the research.

Meta’s quarterly report on Wednesday also showed dramatically rising costs but a dismal revenue outlook, frightening investors and slashing the company’s valuation by about $200 billion.

In after-hours trading, Meta’s stock dropped 22.9 percent to $249.05. Meta is putting a lot of money into its far-future “metaverse” project. It’s like the internet has come to life, or at least been rendered in 3D. It’s a “virtual environment,” according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, where you can immerse yourself rather than merely staring at a screen. Virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps, and other gadgets might theoretically be used to meet, work, and play in the metaverse.

However, it is unlikely to be inexpensive to construct. In 2021, Meta invested more than $10 billion in its Reality Labs sector, which comprises virtual reality headsets and augmented reality technology, resulting in a profit decrease for the quarter.

Another issue is Apple’s recent privacy rules, which have made it more difficult for Meta to follow users for advertising purposes, putting the company’s revenue under strain. Meta has been warning investors for months that its revenue can’t keep growing at the same fast speed it has been.

Because he believes the metaverse will be a large part of the digital economy, Zuckerberg is wagering that it will be the next generation of the internet. In the future years, he expects people to start thinking about Meta as a “metaverse firm,” rather than a social network corporation.

For the time being, though, the metaverse is simply an amorphous concept conceived – and named – by science fiction novelist Neal Stephenson three decades ago. It’s unclear whether it’ll be the next version of human-computer connection, as Zuckerberg envisions it, or just another techie and gamer playground.

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