Meta shares plunge 18 percent as Facebook users stall

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, also said current-quarter revenue would fall below estimates.

A visitor takes photographs in front of signage at Meta Platforms headquarters
Facebook owner Meta Platforms missed Wall Street earnings estimates and posted a weaker forecast [File: Bloomberg]

Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc shares plunged more than 18 percent after the bell on Wednesday as the social media company missed on Wall Street earnings estimates and posted a weaker forecast.

Meta, the parent company of social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, said it was expecting current-quarter revenue below analysts’ expectations, as Apple Inc’s privacy features keep businesses from opting to advertise on social media sites.

The company forecast first-quarter revenue in the range of $27bn to $29bn. Analysts were expecting $30.15bn, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Tech stocks fell broadly after the Meta announcement, with Alphabet Inc down 1.3 percent, Twitter Inc and Pinterest Inc both down 10 percent and Snap Inc down 20 percent.

Apple’s changes to its operating software give users the preference to allow tracking of their activity online, making it harder for advertisers who rely on data to develop new products and know their market.

The company’s total revenue, the bulk of which comes from ad sales, rose to $33.67bn in the fourth quarter from $28.07bn a year earlier, beating analysts’ estimates of $33.40bn, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net loss from Meta’s Reality Labs, the company’s augmented and virtual reality business, was $10.2bn for the full year 2021, up from $6.6bn the previous year. It was the first time the company had broken out this segment in its earnings.

Source: Reuters