🖇 Link Post: It's the beginning of the end of Facebook
David Pierce, writing for Protocol
Facebook is dying. The signs have been out there for a while, of course: slowing growth around the world, an increased focus on Instagram and WhatsApp and Messenger and then a hard pivot toward the metaverse, including a whole-ass name change so that Meta's potential might not be brought down by Facebook. But all we saw until now was slow growth, not decline.
Facebook users have now declined for the first time ever, Meta announced on its earnings call yesterday. The numbers are still ludicrous, obviously — 1.929 billion people still log on to the Facebook app every day, and Meta turned nearly $40 billion in profit last year, so don't pour one out for the blue app just yet — but the number is down about a half a million users from the previous three months.
Facebook is playing with both hands tied behind its back right now. TikTok is a formidable competitor, but Facebook can't even buy a GIF company without getting antitrust scrutiny. Apple's privacy moves continue to hurt, too: “The accuracy of our ads targeting decreased, which increased the cost of driving outcomes,” Sheryl Sandberg said on the earnings call, and Zuckerberg added that the company has had to rebuild “a lot of our ads infrastructure.” Ultimately, CFO Dave Wehner said, that could cost the company about $10 billion in lost revenue — which is about as much as Meta lost on all its metaverse projects last year.
Kara Swisher, writing for New York Times – Opinion
At some point, the jig is up for almost every highflying tech company (consider that Cisco was, for a time in 2000, the world’s most valuable company). That’s usually because executives put on blinders to one constant rule of innovation I’ve observed: The young devour the old.
So, are the worrisome quarterly results posted Wednesday by the outfit formerly known as Facebook an early sign of that? That seemed to be Wall Street’s conclusion, which until now has showered the social networking giant with unquestioning love, but nonetheless shaved more than $250 billion off its market value, or 26 percent, the largest one-day dollar drop for a U.S. company in history.
While the Apple challenge and the metaverse spending are certainly troubling, what we might be seeing is the market’s tiring of co-founder Zuckerberg at the helm,
M.G. Siegler, writing for 500ish
Anyway, Facebook is dying again. Except this time it actually is.
I don’t think it has anything to do with the stock price. This has happened before, not even that long ago, and guess what? The stock not only bounced back, but took off to new heights. The current wipe out is even more massive in scale, but it’s a logical combination of factors — a perfect storm — that hit all at once. Some of those things will be corrected, some will not. But all of them are also the reason that the company is no longer Facebook.² It’s now Meta. Facebook is just a product.
And so round and round we go, down a drain with a clog that prolongs the inevitable. All products die given enough time, it’s just a question of if they die do to cruft creeping in,⁷ or because the North Star shifts to more monetization. Or both. Regardless, both of these open the door for something better to come along. Both of these things are pushing Facebook to get worse as a product experience, and because Facebook’s business is nearly 100 percent predicated around ads, this is all even more pronounced.