The Washington Post reported that Meta, the new name for the company formerly known as Facebook, reported Wednesday that Facebook lost daily users last quarter for the first time ever. According to The Washington Post, the company as a whole, which includes Instagram and WhatsApp, continued to grow, Facebook stalled just shy of 2 billion log-ins a day.
The Washington Post also reported that “Facebook may have peaked in 2021” was the most symbolic data point in a gloomy corporate earnings report that sent Meta’s stock into an epic, historical spiral. The stock lost $220 billion from its value. The loss was greatest in Africa, Latin America, and India, suggesting that the company’s product is saturated globally.
What could be the causes of this drop in daily users? The Verge reported that Meta struggled with waning relevance among young people as CEO Mark Zuckerberg refocused its aim toward “metaverse” plans. The Washington Post reported that Facebook is losing younger users to TikTok.
In addition, Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature required all companies that wanted to track users and their data across different apps and websites had to ask permission through a standardized prompt created by Apple. With the click of a button, people could prevent apps from tracking them. According to The Guardian, Facebook’s advertising model had been hit hard by privacy changes at Apple, and Facebook said it expects it will cost them millions.
Protocol reported that the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar) is headed to the floor of the House. If passed into law, the legislation would prohibit large tech platforms from boosting their own produces and services on the platforms they own. That, too, could potentially take away some money from Meta.
As if that weren’t enough, CBC reported that Meta revealed, for the first time, the financials of its Reality labs division in its fourth-quarter earnings report on Wednesday. According to CBS, Reality Labs reported more than $10 billion in losses in 2021 alone. Meta would have had more than $56 billion in profit for all of last year had it not been for Reality Labs.
It seems to me, based on all of this, that Meta needs to rethink how it is running its business. I cannot see how it can recover from losses like this, year after year, as people continue to lose interest in the company’s various assets.