Facebook stock dives almost 20% on warning of slow revenue growth

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All of those problems are hitting amid a harsh truth for the company: Facebook, the social network with 2.23 billion active monthly users, can't grow forever.

Facebook said it had 1.47 billion daily active users in June, compared with the 1.48 billion average of analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Daily usage was unchanged in Facebook's biggest market, the United States and Canada, at 185 million daily users.

There's a scratch in Facebook's Teflon coating as the social networking company loses approximately US$150 billion ($219b) in market capitalisation in under two hours, Reuters has reported.

"Facebook didn't meet revenue projections but in our world, 42% YOY [year-over-year] increase in revenue and 11% YOY increase in DAUs and MAUs is still something to celebrate", Jessica Liu, an analyst at market researcher Forrester, tells Barron's. Facebook's results prompted selling in other Nasdaq listings, including media and advertising rivals Amazon.com Inc, Netflix Inc and Alphabet Inc.

"Deceleration such as management guided towards suggests that, while the company is still growing at a fast clip, the days of 30% plus growth are numbered", Wieser wrote in a research note.

Wehner gave three different reasons why the company's revenue growth would decline: currency headwinds, greater investments in new kinds of content-sharing, like disappearing videos, and greater user control over privacy - a direct response to criticism the company has fielded. Wehner said the drop was due entirely to a data protection and privacy law that took effect in Europe in May known as the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR.

If the share drop holds on Thursday, it would be Facebook's largest single-day decline, topping a 12 percent decrease in July 2012.

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Facebook has had a bruising few months, from ongoing fallout from the spread of Russian propaganda to the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and fierce controversy over whether fake news and disinformation should be allowed on the site.

The social network beat the predicted $1.72 earnings per share, reporting $1.74.

Still, Zuckerberg assured investors that Facebook continues to see growth on its core platform, as well as its other properties, which include Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. They were also expecting 2.25 billion monthly active users for the quarter.

Instagram is expected to account for 18 percent of Facebook's revenue this year and 23 percent next year, according to research firm EMarketer.

Facebook forecast similar increases for the second half of the year, also citing spending on video content and marketing.

GBH analyst Daniel Ives wrote, "While the knee jerk reaction will be negative on these mixed results especially given the meteoric rise in shares from the March lows, we ultimately believe the advertising revenues and underlying MAU/DAU metrics were "good enough" and show the worries of a massive fundamental and user deterioration at Facebook post Cambridge was more bark than bite at this point".

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