Facebook’s parent company Meta’s latest financial results went down like a lead balloon with the markets, causing a 20% fall in the company’s share price last night. That’s around $200bn of lost value. Why? Well, Meta’s revenues are still growing – up 20% to $33.67bn in the fourth quarter of 2021, and up 37% to $117.93bn for the year as a whole. But a few things are spooking investors in particular.
First, Meta missed investors’ predictions for profitability in Q4 last year. Second, Facebook’s daily active users (DAUs) fell ever so slightly: from 1.93 billion in Q3 to 1.929 billion in Q4. That’s a tiny fall, but it’s the first quarter-on-quarter DAUs decline in Facebook’s history. Part of that decline was a million lost DAUs in North America, Facebook’s biggest advertising market.
Which brings us onto the third reason for the share-price plummet: lots of mentions of “headwinds” in Meta’s earnings call with analysts, including not-so-coded references to “platform and regulatory changes” – for example Apple’s crackdown on ad targeting on iOS devices. “We believe the impact of iOS overall as a headwind on our business in 2022 is on the order of $10 billion, so it’s a pretty significant headwind for our business,” said CFO David Wehner.