Social media giant Facebook has seen its shares rise, even as investors continue to shift their focus on the firm’s ever-growing earnings, while looking past the whistleblower document dump. News has it that Facebook’s third quarter (Q3) earnings are in, and that the company has successfully surpassed estimates once again, sending shares rising.
The tech biggie has revealed that it is adding a whopping $50 billion to its stock buyback programme, which helped it lift shares by some 2 percent in extended trading.
A Major Change to Come Over the Next Few Years
During an earnings call with analysts, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that significant changes are on their way to the platform as it directs its attentions towards Reels, its full-screen video feature, which is designed to compete with the raging TikTok platform.
Zuckerberg claimed that Facebook’s features have evolved over the years, in order to become the “best for the most people who use them,” instead of just being appealing to young adults. At the same time though, he has also warned that the “shift (to Reels) will take years, not months” to come fully into effect, while noting that at the end of the day, Reels carries the potential of having an importance that’s of the same scale as the Stories and News Feed tools.
Severe Criticism and Backlash
The boss also proceeded to defend his company amid the whistleblower row, which has arisen from former employee Frances Haugen leaking a trove of internal company documents, which show how the platform had a role to play in instigating the January 6 riots by allowing for the spread of misinformation, and how the number of teen Facebook users has gone down in the US by as much as 13 percent since 2019. The projected drop for the next two years stands at 45 percent for the age group, while that for the age group between 20 and 30 is around percent.
She had initially shared the documents with The Wall Street Journal, which then proceeded to publish The Facebook Files, a series of stores covering various aspects of the information provided by her. She then proceeded to testify before Congress, sharing her experience from working with the industry giant, while also showing how Facebook is already aware of the harms that its platforms pose to users, citing an internal research which found that Instagram can aggravate body image issues in yeen girls.