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What’s Denting Facebook’s Q4 Global User Numbers?


Jan. 31 2019, Updated 4:10 p.m. ET

Facebook’s user growth dented in the fourth quarter

Facebook’s (FB) user base grew in the fourth quarter, but its rate of growth slowed amid data privacy concerns and issues related to fake accounts and the spreading of misinformation across its platforms. Facebook, Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google, Twitter (TWTR), and Mozilla are struggling to combat fake news ahead of the European Parliament elections in May.

The European Commission has already called on Facebook and Twitter to provide more clarity on the measures they use to fight fake news. Google has also been tasked with combating false information in more European countries. The European Commission has also directed Mozilla’s online browser to share more details and curb certain browsing activities.

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Monthly active users and daily active users

Both Facebook’s daily and monthly user numbers across the world were in line with analysts’ expectations in the fourth quarter. While its number of daily active users increased nearly 2% sequentially and ~8.5% YoY (year-over-year) in the fourth quarter, its number of monthly active users increased 2.2% sequentially and ~9% YoY.

Facebook had nearly 2.32 billion monthly active users as of the end of the fourth quarter. Facebook’s number of monthly active users reached 242 million in North America, flat from the third quarter. This number rose by 6 million to 81 million in Europe in the fourth quarter. In the Asia-Pacific region, the company’s number of monthly active users increased the most, from 917 million in the third quarter to 947 million, in the fourth quarter. In the rest of the world, its number of monthly active users grew from 736 million in the third quarter to 750 million in the fourth quarter.

Facebook reached 1.52 billion daily active users in the fourth quarter. Its number of daily active users grew in all its geographic regions, including India (INDA), Indonesia, and the Philippines, which means that the company recovered from the soft daily active user growth it saw in both North America and Europe in the third quarter.

Around 2.7 billion people use at least one of the company’s apps, which include Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, each month, up from ~2.6 billion in the previous quarter.

Further, the company believes that its Snapchat-like (SNAP) Stories feature sees more than 1 billion Stories per day across the Facebook family of apps. Currently, ~500 million Instagram users use the Stories feature daily.


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