Facebook lost $120 billion in market value over slow growth

Facebook in palm

Cheddar tech reporter Alex Heath wrote that Zuckerberg has sold over $2.6 billion worth of Facebook stock since the company reported its Q1 earnings in April.

It was filed just hours before a brutal Facebook second-quarter earnings update on Wednesday, which sent the firm's share price tumbling almost 24 per cent, wiping as much as $148 billion off its value.

Facebook shares have already been through a rollercoaster of ups and downs this year, with the biggest slump coming in April after it emerged data from tens of millions of users had been acquired by Cambridge Analytica. Zuckerberg's paper fortune fell by $14.5bn from $86.5bn Wednesday to $72bn on Thursday, sending him tumbling from the third-richest person on the planet to sixth.

One day earlier, Facebook had released a disappointing second-quarter financial report.

Young investors are betting that Facebook's earnings disaster and subsequent stock landslide are presenting a buying opportunity to get the stock at an attractive valuation.

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Brian Wieser at Pivotal Research Group said the company appears to have hit a "wall" on growth in advertising.

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

Facebook's tumble led a sell-off in technology companies and pushed the Nasdaq down more than 1 per cent, the index's biggest one-day drop in a month, while industrial stocks rose after the United States and the European Union said they would negotiate on trade.

The social media platform earned $5.1 billion, or $1.74 per share, for the second quarter. Facebook warned that its operating margins would fall from its current 44 percent to the "mid-30s". That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.

Some analysts said Facebook's issues would not be easily resolved. While several analysts downgraded the stock, others say they still have faith in the company to grow over the long-term.

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The number of daily active users in Europe fell by 3 million people from the first quarter, dropping to 279 million.

"With stagnating core user growth, we think there is too much near- to mid-term uncertainty to recommend shares at this point", Japanese investment bank Nomura said.

Facebook has also faced public image problems because of the way Russian Federation used the site to try to influence the 2016 US presidential election. But Facebook said that the drop in users was consistent with the previous quarter's outlook and did not say if it expected the decline to last. But Facebook, which reported sales growth averaging 50 percent the past 10 quarters, may just be lowering the bar so it can win back confidence in future quarters.

He added that Facebook has "a track record of resetting revenue growth and expense expectations only to turn around and exceed those expectations the following quarter".

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