By John Ikani
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg saw his net worth decreased by almost $30 billion, following the record-breaking plunge of Meta shares on Thursday.
With a current net worth of $84.3 billion, according to Forbes, it is the first time the 37-year-old hasn’t been one of the 10 richest people on earth since summer 2015.
Zuckerberg owns nearly 13% of Meta, which was recently rebranded from Facebook.
His $31 billion loss ranks as the second-largest single-day loss in history, only surpassed by Elon Musk’s $35 billion loss in November after he tweeted about selling 10% of his Tesla stake.
The stock of Meta Technologies slumped by more than $230bn after the company revealed that Facebook’s DAUs fell to 1.929bn in the three months to the end of December, compared to 1.930bn in the previous quarter.
Meta also warned of slowing revenue growth in the face of competition from rival platforms including TikTok and YouTube, while advertisers were also cutting spending.
Mr Zuckerberg said the firm’s sales growth had been hurt as audiences, especially younger users, had left for rivals.
The firm forecast revenues of between $27bn and $29bn for the first quarter of this year, which was lower than analysts had expected.
Although the company has been making investments in video services to compete with TikTok, owned by Chinese technology giant ByteDance, it makes less money from those offerings than its traditional Facebook and Instagram feeds.
Another factor that fuelled the drop was Meta’s warning that revenue growth in the next quarter would be weaker than expected and that recent privacy changes on Apple operating systems would cost the company $10 billion.
The changes, which make it harder for brands to target and measure their advertising on Facebook and Instagram, could have an impact “in the order of $10bn” for this year, the firm said.
Before the changes, Meta used to target advertisements by tracking how Apple users interacted with apps and websites but can no longer do this.
“Clearly Meta got more impacted compared to its rivals as other social media like Snap posted healthy results,” said Sachin Mittal, head of telecom and internet sector research at DBS Bank.
“While there has been a broad negative impact on the whole tech sector, we reckon players with lower reliance on targeted ads or better algorithms to cope with Apple’s changes would still do well.”
Meta’s share price slump also dragged on other social media platforms, including Twitter, Snap and Pinterest during Thursday’s regular trading session.
However, Snap’s shares jumped by almost 60% in after-hours trade as it reported its first-ever quarterly profit.