Durban - Social media giant, Facebook is losing users, new figures released by the company revealed.
Facing a public backlash over its handling of fake news, privacy, and digital wellbeing, figures released on Wednesday showed that Facebook reached 2.23 billion monthly users, up just 1.54 percent - much slower than Q1’s 3.14 percent around where its growth rate has hovered for years, according to techcrunch.com.
It was Facebook’s lowest user growth rate ever.
But the company, not keen to highlight this fact has begun combining the figures users who use all of its apps - Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp - into one new metric.
For the first time, Facebook has announced that in June, 2.5 billion people used at least one of its apps: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger.
The figure includes real people, rather than accounts since people can have multiple accounts on a single app, founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said.
“ (It) excludes when people have multiple accounts on a single app. And it reflects that many people use more than one of our services,” he said.
According to techcrunch.com, it seems as if Facebook announced the stat in hopes of deflecting attention from the fact that its user count shrank in Europe and was flat in the US and Canada, contributing to extraordinarily low monthly and daily user growth.
That growth trouble, in turn, sent Facebook’s share price down over 20 percent in after-hours trading.
On the 2.5 billion figure, Facebook CFO David Wehner explained that “We believe this number better reflects the size of our community.”
By bundling the user counts into a “family of apps audience metric”, Facebook can obscure the fact that its core app is hitting a wall, techcrunch reported.
Instead, it can rely on WhatsApp and Instagram to shore up the number. For example, if teens slip from Facebook to Instagram, they’ll still be counted in the new metric. But that doesn’t change the fact that the company’s main money-maker is losing its edge.