Have you heard the news? Facebook has stopped growing.
In a first for the social media giant, its daily active user numbers dropped in the last quarter of 2021, and its monthly active user numbers remained steady in the second half of the year. The poor performance sent Meta Platforms stocks plummeting 27% on Wall Street earlier this month, a result “unprecedented in stock market history”.
Observers say this distinct lack of growth for Facebook comes from a convergence of substantial threats:
- Facebook is an aging monolith that no amount of rebranding as part of the new shiny ‘Meta’ stable can hide or reverse. It’s arguably attracted all the new users it’s going to attract.
- Apple iOS privacy changes have hit Facebook’s ad revenue hard, at the same time as advertisers are tightening their belts.
- The platform admits it’s facing stiff competition for user time and attention from TikTok and YouTube, and its own answer to TikTok, Reels, isn’t engaging users as quickly as hoped.
We would add another substantial threat to this list: the privacy tide is turning. We’ve been saying for a long time that consumers are fed up with trading their privacy for access to products and services.
Consumers have never been louder in their calls for better protection of their personal data by the brands and products they engage with, and it seems Facebook just isn’t hearing them or responding seriously enough. And we all know Facebook isn’t the only one.
Photo by Nok Lek