Facebook has lost users for the first time ever, costing CEO Mark Zuckerberg billions.
Facebook’s parent company, Meta, announced on Wednesday that it had lost about 1 million daily active users in the most recent quarter. It was the first ever drop in users for the social media giant, Axios reported.
After the dismal numbers were announced, Meta’s stock plummeted more than 20 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal. The drop cost the company’s market capitalization over $200 billion.
Zuckerberg himself was also directly impacted.
According to the Daily Mail, Zuckerberg has more than 398 million shares of Meta. So when the stock took a dive yesterday, it bumped $29 billion off his net worth.
Zuckerberg told investors on a call that competition from TikTok is forcing Facebook to focus more on Reels, its short-form video product, The Washington Post reported.
“People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly,” Zuckerberg said. “This is why our focus on Reels is so important over the long term.”
Facebook’s growth in the U.S. and Europe has not been stellar over the past few years, but normally the company has been able to keep adding users.
Now, shedding users of its main social network, the Big Tech giant has turned to the “metaverse.” Zuckerberg is looking to make it the next major technological development.
But Meta’s Reality Labs, which develops virtual reality hardware, lost $10 billion in 2021, according to Axios.
Meta reported $10.3 billion in profits in the fourth quarter, below expectations of $10.9 billion and a decline compared to 2020.
Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital, said taking the company in a new direction while generating less revenue is “not a match made in heaven.”
Zuckerberg seemed to agree.
“Although our direction is clear, it seems that our path ahead is not quite perfectly defined,” he told investors.
However, not all the trends were negative for Meta.
Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, all under the Meta umbrella, continued to add users. The number of people logging in to Facebook monthly also grew — it was the number of daily users that fell.