The biggest social network in the world isn’t getting any bigger.
Meta posted its fourth quarter earnings Wednesday, sharing financials that disappointed Wall Street enough to send its stock into a nose dive. Shares of the company, still trading under the ticker symbol FB for now, plunged 20% as the numbers hit.
While Meta’s last quarter saw some expected trends play out, including Apple’s iOS privacy changes dampening its ad business, it also surfaced the novel fact that Facebook, Meta’s core app, is no longer attracting new users.
Facebook’s monthly active users (MAUs) remained flat from the third quarter of 2021 to the fourth at 2.9 billion. Worse, its daily active users (DAUs) fell from 1.93 to 1.929 billion in the same period — a first for Facebook, which is known for a growth-at-all-costs approach.
Some of this is intuitive. Facebook is a mature product (to put it gently) and there are only so many humans in markets around the world left for the company to sign up. And the company is putting more emphasis than ever on its “family” of apps, including WhatsApp and Instagram, fresher products that likely still have a ways to go to reach that kind of saturation.
The user growth slowdown came in the same quarter that the company formerly known as Facebook announced that it would rebrand as a “metaverse” company, complete with plans to steer its resources toward building immersive virtual experiences.
The good news for Meta is that it still owns the world’s biggest social graph. The bad news? Even if a user slowdown was expected, it’s just one more thing making Facebook — and consequently Facebook’s “Family of Apps,” as Meta calls it — look more like a relic from the past rather than a shining vision of the future.