Facebook succumbed to the public backlash over its handling of fake news, privacy, and digital wellbeing to miss some of Wall Street’s estimates to show mixed results in its Q2 2018 earnings. GDPR, Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before congress, and more scandals contributed to Facebook’s weak user growth, with it reaching 2.23 billion monthly users, up 1.54 percent, much slower than Q1’s 3.14 percent around where its growth rate has hovered for years. Facebook earned $13.23 billion in revenue with $1.74 EPS compared to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates of $13.36 billion and $1.72 EPS.
Daily active users reached 1.47 billion, up 1.44 percent percent compared to Q1’s 3.42 percent. Facebook’s daily and monthly user counts were up 11 percent year-over-year, confirming that the momentum of its business is still overpowering its PR problems when you zoom out. And its DAU to MAU ratio held firm at 66 pecent, indicating that users are still visiting the site often. But the question for today’s earnings call will be whether time spent on the site has decreased significantly.
The stock market frowned heavily on the slow growth rates, pushing Facebook’s share price down over 8 percent in after-hours trading to udner $200 per share. That’s despite it earning $5.106 billion in profit and revenue being up 42 percent year-over-year.
The quarter saw Facebook clamp down on APIs for developers in hopes of preventing another Cambridge Analytica style disaster. Its CEO faced tough days of questioning from congress over the privacy problem, alleged bias against conservatives, and its failure to protect the 2016 presidential election. Facebook tried to redirect attention away from its problems during its F8 conference that saw it announce plans for a dating feature. But all the problems may be taking a toll on user engagement, leading to the revenue miss. Weak daily and monthly user growth should be a big concern, and will put even more pressure on Instagram to prop up the corporation.