Facebook shares plunged in extended trading Wednesday after the social media giant missed Wall Street revenue estimates for the first time in 11 quarters and gave a downbeat outlook for the remainder of the year.
As Quartz reports, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had been warning that Facebook “would take a hit as it pours money into content moderation in a massive hiring effort to control the flow of bad posts —among other investments — and shifting the News Feed to interactions with friends and family, versus posts from brands and organizations.”
But Facebook’s second-quarter numbers still landed like a hammer on investors, with the stock initially falling by as much as 10% in after-hours trading. Additional comments by CFO David Wehner in the earnings call sent the price even further down, to $173.50, or 20.2% off the closing price.
“We expect our revenue growth rates to decline by high-single-digit percentages from prior quarters sequentially in both Q3 and Q4,” Wehner said.
The company also expects its operating margin, which was at 50% in 2017, to eventually trend to the mid-30s.
For the latest quarter, Facebook earned $1.74 per share on revenue of $13.23 billion, up 23% from a year ago and 10.6% sequentially. Analysts had expected earnings of $1.72 per share on revenue of $13.36 billion.
Mobile advertising revenue accounted for 91% of revenue, up from 87% in the same quarter last year, while monthly active users totaled 2.23 billion, slightly missing estimates of 2.25 billion. Daily active users in the U.S., Facebook’s most profitable market, remained stable, after falling for the first time ever in the last quarter of 2017.
“A surprisingly mixed set of results,” Marco Rimini, chief development officer at Mindshare, told CNBC, adding, “In the mid-term, advertisers still believe in Facebook, as do its users.”
Facebook attributed the expected decline in revenue growth to investing in Stories, which has lower levels of monetization, as well as improving privacy features. “We continue to focus our product impact on putting privacy first, and that’s going to have some impact on revenue growth,” Wehner said.