Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg have had a rough year so far.
They’ve been playing whack-a-mole in the fight against election meddling by Russia and Iran, waged a near-constant battle against fake news and faced a string of controversies over data misuse. Hackers got a hold of the personal data of 29 million Facebook users during a massive security breach. Meanwhile, the world’s largest social network is having a tough time stamping out hateful posts. On Monday, The New York Times said it found 11,696 anti-Semitic posts on the company’s Instagram photo-sharing site, two days after a gunman killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Then there’s the recent wave of high-level departures, as top executives from Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus — all companies Facebook has acquired — head for the exits. The departures indicate that Zuckerberg is taking tighter control over those businesses, potentially placing ad sales over user privacy.
Facebook’s business first showed signs of cracking in July, when the company reported second-quarter sales that missed Wall Street estimates, gave a weak revenue forecast for future quarters and said the number of users in Europe had declined. The news sent Facebook’s stock free-falling nearly 25 percent in after-hours trading. The next day, falling share prices wiped out more than $100 billionof Facebook’s market value. By the close of trading, Bloomberg declared that Facebook had suffered the largest stock market loss in value during a single day ever for any US company.
On Tuesday, Facebook reported that it raked in $13.72 billion in revenue during the third quarter, shy of Wall Street’s average estimate of $13.78 billion. As of Sept. 30, Facebook had 2.27 billion monthly active users, missing analyst estimates of 2.29 billion users, according to Reuters. Profit was $1.76 a share. Analysts had anticipated $1.47 a share.