Almost 20 years in, Facebook is still growing. The social network now has 2 billion daily active users, Meta reported alongside its fourth-quarter earnings. The report marks the first time Facebook, which added 16 million users last quarter, has reached 2 billion daily users.
While Facebook isn’t the first Meta-owned platform to reach 2 billion daily users — WhatsApp recently crossed 2 billion DAUs — it does show that the company’s biggest source of ad revenue is still growing, even while Meta has made significant cuts to its business in recent months. CEO Mark Zuckerberg alluded to the company’s recent restructuring, which resulted in the elimination of more than 11,000 jobs, saying in a statement that “our management theme for 2023 is the 'Year of Efficiency.'”
But while Meta’s revenue has shrunk over the last year, the company’s $32.2 billion in revenue for the last quarter of 2022 was still slightly better than expected even as it was down 4 percent from last year.
During a call with analysts, Zuckerberg suggested that Meta will continue to make cuts as it prioritizes efficiency. “We're going to be more proactive about cutting projects that aren't performing or may no longer be as crucial,” he said. The CEO also said that generative AI would be a priority for Meta in the year ahead.
“Generative AI is an extremely exciting new area with so many different applications,” Zuckerberg said. “And one of my goals for Meta is to build on our research to become a leader in generative AI.”
Meta also continues to lose vast amounts of money on its metaverse investments. Reality Labs, the division overseeing its VR, AR and metaverse projects, lost $4.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022, and nearly $14 billion for the whole year, Meta reported. and the company, once again, confirmed that it expects to lose even more money on Reality Labs in the year ahead. "We still expect our full year Reality Labs losses to increase in 2023," Meta CFO Susan Li said. "And we're going to continue to invest meaningfully in this area given the significant long term opportunities that we see."
While the Reality Labs losses have contributed to Meta's revenue slowdown over the last year, Zuckerberg also said that he believes the company is in the midst of a "pretty rapid phase change," compared to years past. "We can't just treat everything like it's hyper growth," he said. "There are gonna be some areas that are going to be very rapidly growing, or that are very, kind of, future investments that we want to make."