That’s it, people are starting to abandon Facebook

Facebook’s user growth has slowed for years, but the social network has never experienced a loss. One million isn’t a lot for the platform, but it actually shows a lot of potential problems for its future.

It might seem like a drop in the bucket on the scale of Facebook’s user count, but it’s not that trivial. For the first time in 18 years, the social network lost daily active users. In the quarterly results report of Meta in Q4 2021 (the new name of the Facebook group), we read that the number fell from 1.930 billion (in Q3) to 1.929 billion, which represents a loss of one million users .

This loss is, according to the multinational, at the level of American users (USA and Canada) and areas outside Europe and Asia.

If we zoom out a little on the current year, we can say that it is more of a harsh stagnation than a monumental fall. However, on the scale of a social network that has been built on steady growth over two decades, the metric makes a lot of sense. For example, between Q2 and Q3 2021, Facebook was still gaining 22 million daily active users. The previous quarter, it was 30 million. Put in this context, the loss of one million Internet users is more important than it seems.

Facebook’s daily active users in 2021 // Source: META Report

Is Facebook a network of boomers?

Facebook can boast other numbers, of course, such as revenue per user, which is steadily increasing, even over the last quarter, and across all geographies — albeit lower than expected.

But all the same, the questioned disappointment.

It’s been almost 10 years since Facebook admitted to having a problem with young Internet users, whom it has difficulty attracting and retaining. These are certainly turning to Instagram (which belongs to Meta), but also to even younger platforms such as Snapchat or TikTok. The signal sent by the social network is not good: it shows that despite a growing world population, Facebook seems to be touching a kind of ceiling for the first time. Stock market indicators illustrated this loss of confidence: Meta lost 20% in after-market trading on Wall Street after the results announcements.

Incidentally, during Meta’s lengthy Q&A session, Chairman Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly mentioned Instagram as TikTok’s competitor (through Video Reels), but more rarely offered Facebook.

That's it, people are starting to abandon Facebook
Meta on Nasdaq on February 2, 2022 in the evening // Source: nasdaq

Who will go to the Metaverse?

Also, no one is unaware of the great project of Mark Zuckerberg, boss of Meta, to create a huge Metaverse, a kind of 100% virtual alternative living space in which Internet users will exchange through 3D avatars.

Meta plans to hire 10,000 people in 5 years to create not only the interface, but also to improve the hardware of the products that could connect to it (today, virtual reality is still very incomplete). However, these gigantic investments only make sense if there will be, finally, users in the Metaverse. The question can then arise: does Meta have the means to make its major project attractive (while this, by the way, still does not mean anything), and to impose it on Internet users, when it has already struggling to gain new users on Facebook?

For the Metaverse to work, Meta needs people to believe that the Metaverse works. Like many other large-scale tech projects, trust is a key factor, which could easily tip an ambitious idea into oblivion.

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