It was less than two years ago when Zuckerberg, 38, was worth $106 billion and among an elite group of global billionaires, with only Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates commanding bigger fortunes. His wealth swelled to a peak of $142 billion in September 2021, when the company’s shares reached as high as $382. The following month, Zuckerberg introduced Meta and changed the company’s name from Facebook And it’s been largely downhill from there as it struggles to find its footing in the tech universe.
Its recent earnings reports have been dismal. It started in February, when the company revealed no growth in monthly Facebook users, triggering a historic collapse in its stock price and slashing Zuckerberg’s fortune by $31 billion, among the biggest one-day declines in wealth ever. Other issues include Instagram’s bet on Reels — its answer to TikTok’s short-form video platform — even though it’s worth less in advertising revenue, while the industry overall has been affected by lower marketing spending due to concerns over an economic slowdown. The stock is also being dragged down by the company’s investments in the metaverse, said Laura Martin, senior internet analyst at Needham & Co. Zuckerberg has said he expects the project will lose “significant” amounts of money in the next three to five years. In the meantime, Meta “has to get these users back from TikTok,” said Martin. It’s also hampered by “excessive regulatory scrutiny and intervention,” she said. Meta is “down about 57% this year, far more than the declines of 14% for Apple, 26% for Amazon and 29% for Google parent Alphabet,” adds Bloomberg. “Meta is even narrowing the gap in 2022 losses with Netflix, which is down about 60%.”
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