Facebook user decline: what the experts say

Social media giant Facebook has seen the number of its daily active users (DAUs) drop for the first time in its 18-year history.

Facebook’s parent company Meta Networks says DAUs fell to 1.929bn in the three months to the end of December, compared to 1.930bn in the previous quarter.

The firm also warned of slowing revenue growth in the face of competition from rivals like TikTok and YouTube, while advertisers are also cutting spending.

Meta’s shares slumped by more than 20% in after-hours trading in New York. The slide in Meta’s share price wiped around $200bn (£147.5bn) off the company’s stock market value.

We ask some industry experts what they think is the matter with Meta right now.

Rachel Jones, Associate Analyst in the Thematic Team at data and analytics company GlobalData: 

“Meta’s underwhelming number of daily users on both Facebook and Instagram signify intensifying competition for user engagement with other platforms such as TikTok.

“According to GlobalData’s scorecards, which rank companies on how they are expected to perform across a range of themes, Meta came 11 out of 50 companies in the Advertising screen but as low as 21 out of 50 in the Social Media screen.

“If Meta wants to keep its users and be in a better position to tackle the metaverse, the company needs to fix its core business model – develop its short-form video content and re-build advertising before ploughing more money into a currently non-existent metaverse.”

Dominic Hiatt, founder of the small business marketing platform, Newspage

“Facebook increasingly has a legacy feel to it. Even Instagram feels sepia-tinted compared to TikTok. Facebook is still the default social setting for people in their thirties, forties and fifties plus, but simply isn’t on the radar of younger people. 

“Kids these days are on Instagram at best, but Snapchat and TikTok are where it’s happening. Facebook will also be suffering social fallout from the various controversies it’s been involved in. As for Facebook ads, companies are spending their money on organic, genuine content to cut through. Ads are increasingly seen as crude and ineffective.”

Digital marketer, Marianna Boguslavsky: 

“Unless Facebook pivots or focuses on some smart acquisitions to attract a younger audience, there will be more and more users asking themselves, ‘Should I delete it?’ It just no longer wields the extraordinary power it once did.”

Michael Oszmann, founder of online marketplace, Buy Britain

“I’m surprised it has taken this long. You only have to go on the train and look around at people’s phones to see that the world has moved onto vertical videos and highly visual platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels.

“‘Core’ Facebook has become a victim of its own success. It’s now so flooded with ads and strange comments from your distant great auntie that most people don’t engage with it like they used to. Luckily for Zuck, he also owns Instagram so I’m sure he’ll be ok.”

Chris Price