Its annual revenue fell 1% to $116.61 billion, according to its earnings release.

Its title still jumped 19% during electronic trading after the closing of the Stock Exchange on Wednesday, because the market expected a more brutal fall for the Californian group which has been sailing on sight for a year, between macroeconomic constraints and competition. fierce for consumer attention.

Another positive sign, the original social network, Facebook, has reached two billion daily active users, against 1.98 billion at the end of September.

In all, some 3.74 billion people use at least one of the company's services (social networks and messaging) every month.

These good surprises do not hide the reality of a company that has seen better days.

Results from Meta © / AFP

In the fourth quarter of 2022, Meta saw its net profit halve to 4.65 billion.

Its revenues and profits have been hurt by shrinking advertiser budgets due to the economic crisis, competition from TikTok and regulatory changes from Apple, which limit the ability of social networks to collect user data to sell ads. highly targeted.

New layoffs?

Like many big companies, and all of its larger Silicon Valley neighbors except Apple, Meta implemented a massive social plan in the fall.

The group cut 11,000 jobs, or around 13% of its workforce, and froze hiring until the end of March 2023.

And it may not be over.

"We are looking to (...) remove certain levels, certain intermediate management positions to speed up decision-making," said Mark Zuckerberg, the group's boss, on Wednesday during the conference call with analysts.

He wants 2023 to be "the year of efficiency" after 18 years of "rapid growth" and thinks it will be "more pleasant" for employees to work because "they will be able to get more things done".

His company has been worrying the markets for a year, when the group first lost users on Facebook.

It was shortly after its name change and the announcement of its pivot to the metaverse, this parallel universe presented as the future of the internet, accessible in particular via augmented and virtual realities.

Where was the metaverse in 2022?

© John SAEKI / AFP/Archives

But Reality Labs, the branch responsible for developing the metaverse, widened its losses to 4.3 billion dollars during the past quarter, after having already lost 3.7 billion in the third quarter, and 2.6 billion in the second.

"Mark Zuckerberg is going to have to come to terms with the sad reality that businesses and consumers have no appetite for virtual worlds right now," commented Debra Aho Williamson of Insider Intelligence.

The billionaire indicated on Wednesday that the metaverse remains a priority, but less urgent than the AI.

Artificial intelligence

AI has been making a strong comeback since this fall as the star of new technologies, thanks to the generative AI software ChatGPT, which is unleashing passions.

Put online by the Californian start-up OPenAI in November, it is capable of writing all kinds of texts and lines of computer code.

Like Google, Meta was already working on generative AI.

Mark Zuckerberg hopes in particular that it will make it easy to create "videos, avatars and 3D images" for different platforms.

AI has been making a strong comeback since this fall as the star of new technologies, thanks to the generative AI software ChatGPT, which is unleashing passions © Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP/Archives

AI is also at the heart of the efforts of the world number two in advertising to encourage its users to spend time on its applications and to derive more revenue from them.

The company copied TikTok's short and captivating videos with its "Reels" and is now focusing on personalized recommendation algorithms, which have largely contributed to the success of its popular competitor.

It must also find a way to better monetize them, because at this stage, the interest in reels translates into "loss of income", admitted the leader, with users spending less time on the central pages of Facebook or Facebook. 'Instagram, more lucrative.

The algorithms must also help Meta circumvent the problem posed for a year by Apple's policy on the protection of privacy.

AI makes it possible to improve targeting and effectiveness measures, without collecting more data.

Insider Intelligence predicts Meta's global market share will shrink to less than 20% this year, after hitting 22% in 2021.

© 2023 AFP