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Meta’s profit slips as Facebook loses users

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Facebook’s parent firm Meta on Wednesday delivered a gloomy mix of a sharper-than-expected drop in profit, a decrease in users and threats to its ad business that plunged shares some 22 per cent in after-hours trading.

Already jittery markets have punished pandemic-era darlings including Netflix for disappointing results, with Meta getting a taste of that after its USD10.3-billion quarterly profit and daily user-growth fell short of expectations.

Yet the signature Facebook platform also reported losing roughly one million daily users globally between the last two quarters of 2021 – a tiny number on an app with nearly two billion daily users, but a potentially worrying signal of stagnation.

Chief Finance Officer Dave Weiner told analysts that user growth was impacted by “headwinds” including disproportionate growth in the Asia-Pacific during the pandemic that has slowed and an increase in mobile data prices in India.

“In addition to these factors, we believe competitive services are negatively impacting growth, particularly with younger audiences,” Weiner added.

On the financial side, Meta achieved a turnover of USD33.67 billion, in line with its forecasts, but it made USD10.3 billion in net profit in the fourth quarter, eight per cent less than last year.

Facebook employees take a photo with the company’s new logo outside its headquarters in Menlo Park, California. PHOTO: AP