Facebook Records Its First Ever Decline In Daily Users


It seems like Facebook is finally (and slowly) being left behind after years of scandals, congressional hearings, and generally bad vibes.
In a mountain of business-speak, Meta, the company that encompasses Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus, released its earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2021 on Wednesday. Facebook’s daily active users dropped very slightly between the last two quarters of last year, from 1.93 billion to 1.929 billion.

That’s a change so minuscule that you may not notice it at first glance when looking at Meta’s earnings slides, but it’s there. Most of the declines occurred in a vague “Rest of World” category, which is basically Latin America and Africa. According to CNBC, it was the first drop in daily users on record for Facebook, and fell short of analysts’ expectations of 1.95 billion users.

There are countless reasons why this specific drop in users occurred and where and when it did. Without baselessly speculating, it is mostly interesting because of how popular it has become to call for people to quit the platform in recent years. With rampant COVID misinformation (and lax measures to prevent it), countless scams, and the perception that Facebook allows harmful content to spread just because it’s popular, anti-Facebook sentiment has reached an all-time high in public discourse.

Furthermore, everyone has experienced the demoralizing feeling of arguing with a loved one about politics on the site, and that alone is enough to discourage people from using the site. Whatever the reason for the drop, Facebook’s next quarterly report just got a lot more interesting.