Facebook shares fall 9 percent on revenue miss

Credit Getty

Credit Getty

In a research note, he said Facebook's outlook "suggests that while the company is still growing at a fast clip, the days of 30 percent-plus growth are numbered".

$120 billion being wiped away in a day is shocking when put into perspective: Microsoft lost $77 billion during the dot-com bust, while Intel lost a huge $91 billion in September 2000. Wehner warned that Facebook expected its revenue growth to slow from the 42% pace it posted in the second quarter and its operating margins to fall from 44% in the period. Facebook's share price dropped by 7% after the earnings release and then proceeded to deep-dive during and after its earnings call.

But the number of people who use the network every day, representing Facebook's most devoted users, remained flat in the US at 185 million.

Facebook has been rocked by a series of privacy and data-related scandals over the last few months, and investors were clearly unhappy by what the company's chief financial officer had to say yesterday.

Facebook has faced dozens of lawsuits over its handling of user data in a scandal also concerning the United Kingdom firm Cambridge Analytica. And it continued to suffer fallout from investigations into Russian manipulation of the platform during the 2016 USA presidential election.

Zuckerberg even noted during a call with analysts that "we're investing so much in security that it will significantly impact our profitability".

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Its Q2 report warned profit margins would plummet for years due to costs to improve privacy safeguards and slowing usage in its big advertising markets. There are suggestions that Facebook itself has been hinting at a slowdown for some time - but the markets failed to see it coming, hence their panic. Technology companies account for six of the 10 biggest companies in the S&P 500 Index.

Breaching customers' trust by using and/or distributing their personal information is reportedly having more of a negative effect on Facebook's subscriber base in Europe than in North America.

As it stands, Facebook still boasts 2.23 billion users, which make up nearly a third of the entire population of Earth.

The company also said that revenue growth from emerging markets and the company's Instagram app, which has been less affected by privacy concerns, would not be enough to fix the damage.

The new General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union forced several changes to Facebook's privacy terms and sign-up process. However, average revenue per user in the region rose despite the lack of growth. Wednesday may have been the first time this tension really broke into the open, probably because it threatened the one thing all investors care about: Money.

In an understandable development at the announcement, Facebook's stock has taken a tremendous nosedive, down almost 20% at peak. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has defended Holocaust deniers. "The Facebook board isn't panicking".

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