After Meta Stock Plunges, CEO Mark Zuckerberg Urges Video Pivot
This week was a financially disastrous one for Meta, the umbrella company formerly known as Facebook that now encompasses the apps Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Messenger.
Meta’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg laid out the issue in an earnings report on Wednesday, where he reported that spending on his virtual world concept of the Metaverse was over $10 billion and counting, which is ten times what they paid to acquire Instagram in 2012. This caused profits for the last quarter of 2021 to fall by 8%.
The release of the earnings report caused a domino effect, and on Thursday Meta’s stock shares fell by 26.4%, the biggest one-day drop in history which wiped out $230 billion in market value for the company. In relation to this plunge, Zuckerberg’s personal net worth dropped by $29 billion.
According to the report, new users were generally up on WhatsApp and Instagram, but have lately stagnated for the core Facebook app as competition in social platforms increases.
Along with the huge spending on the Virtual Reality world of the Metaverse, Meta executives were squirming over a new privacy update introduced by Apple last Spring. This update allowed iPhone users to opt-out of behavior tracking from any app in their phone, significantly reducing their capacity to create accurately targeted ads for the many people that chose to do it. According to the Wednesday report, executives forecasted that the Apple update will lead to $10 billion in lost revenue.
In a virtual meeting after the stock drop on Thursday, Zuckerberg also allegedly brought up that Meta was facing an “unprecedented level of competition” from the short-video platform TikTok, backed by Chinese tech company Byte Dance. Zuckerberg encouraged employees in this call to focus on new strategies for video, in reference to their Instagram Reels features which is one of the company’s only profitable elements. Despite its success, Reels is less ubiquitous than Tik Tok is right now and won’t keep all of Meta afloat long-term by itself
With core users and earnings beginning to plateau, it remains to be seen whether fallout will continue for the company in the form of employee layoffs or resignations. Zuckerberg has reportedly been trying to keep the mood upbeat, but sources said he appeared flustered and red-eyed at the Thursday meeting. Staff insisted it was just from a scratched eye.