Ten things to know about Meta/Facebook and where they are going next

TBD Conference
4 min readJul 27, 2023

The big blue misery machine is going gangbusters…so why are people still saying it’s dying? Here are ten facts or interesting nuggets about what’s going on and where Meta is going next.

1. 3.8 billion people use at least one Meta product — Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, Threads- once a month. That’s around half the world’s population and is deduped. Facebook itself saw over three billion people use it in a month for the first time in its history. People who tell you Facebook is dying are lying to you. While it’s true the platform may not be as sticky or popular (and there is data out there that suggests these things), Facebook has plenty to keep people entertained and coming back. [Meta]

2. Meta made $32 billion in earnings in Q2. That’s up 11% year over year. AI-fuelled ads are being touted as the reason. Stock is up 8% with the news. The year of efficiency isn’t the reason for the bump. Facebook have been pushing hard on a lot of fronts and money would have also come from Twitter budgets. The trend of revenue mega growth is clear though. [FT]

3. The bluster over spending big on VR/AR/Metaverse is unwarranted. Meta made $8 billion in profit last QUARTER. Spending (or losing) $3.7 billion per quarter — while a huge number and percentage — is not as bad as a lot of people think. Again, $13.7 billion is a huge number, but considering Apple’s recent play there’s a lot at stake/to play for. [Blockworks]

4. Reels made Meta $10 billion. A figure that has risen sharply — last year Meta said Reels made them $3 billion. The TikTokification of platforms continues to earn everyone money and Facebook again shows it’s better to ‘borrow’ features’ than create them. [Variety]

5. It’s cheaper for Meta/Facebook to break the law than it is to protect user rights. Recently being slapped with a record-setting €1.3 billion fine for failing to comply with a 2020 decision by the European Union’s highest court for shipping data across the Atlantic was not sufficiently protected from American spy agencies. Expect such behaviour to continue until the fines are percentages of profits. [Verge]

6. Meta is valued at around four times less than Apple ($3 trillion). Weighing in at $750 billion, Meta isn’t worth as much as people think it is for a few reasons. The platform’s dicey past with privacy, leadership, big drops, big expenditure, little homegrown innovation and generally, not a beloved brand. All this, and a business model that took a big hit, means Meta tumbled out of the top 20 companies in the US a while ago. However, there are analysts out there who believe the stock will be worth two trillion by 2030 — numbers like the Q2 earnings suggest that’s not impossible. [Fool]

7. Meta is spending big on custom silicon (chips) for artificial intelligence and video-processing tasks. A costly venture that allows Meta to control its supply line, but it is costly even if it does lead to improved performance. Investors are watching this area of expenditure closely. Few would argue spending in the AI infrastructure arena is a bad move right now. [CNBC]

8. Trust remains the core issue for Meta. 48% of Britons do not trust any products from Meta (the data suggests they still use them though). The data differs around the world, and is not just with Meta. Big tech has a massive trust deficit in the UK and around the world for the issues that we have seen over the decades. The biggest culprit remains Meta and Meta properties. AI could be a big opp for Meta to regain some of the trust if the Llama 2 (think free Chat-GPT) works and adds enough value without sucking too much data from users. [BoA]

9. Regulation is a close second. General & administrative costs (aka regulation and litigation costs) account for around 13% of Meta revenue. New data privacy laws in the EU have stopped Threads, Meta’s Twitter clone, from being released in the EU. “. Perhaps not surprising given Meta’s regulatory challenges. Expect all sides to begin playing hardball in this area. Big tech is threatening to leave territories if laws and decisions don’t go their way which only punishes users. The biggest issue looming for Meta? How they navigate their metaverse being as minimally regulated as possible. [Bloomberg]

10. Threads isn’t included in the latest data, its impact isn’t expected to be massive for Meta. While a smart play at a time when users were looking for an alternative to Twitter, Threads activity has dropped (as many predicted) while the platform adds more features. Users only just got the ability to only see the updates of people they follow. When you make a platform in part to spite/annoy another founder you invariably don’t have the user’s best experience at heart. Expect incremental additions and changes before massive innovation. [WSJ]

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