Billions

Facebook passed 3 billion users for the first time

Meta's primordial app reached a landmark amid a quarter of positive financial results

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Mark Zuckerberg looking happy wearing a hoodie and standing outside
Meta posted big gains in revenue amid an advertising bounce-back.
Photo: Kevin Dietsch (Getty Images)

Facebook, the world’s largest social network, exceeded 3 billion monthly active users for the first time, its parent company Meta reported today (July 26) in its second-quarter (pdf) financial results.

In recent months, Meta has emphasized its work with artificial intelligence, virtual reality projects and the metaverse, and its newest app, Threads, a text-based service that’s functionally a copycat of Twitter. But the 3 billion user feat by Facebook is a landmark achievement for the company’s primordial social media platform and former corporate namesake.

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User growth has mostly plateaued for Facebook in recent years, with its monthly user base growing by 3% since this time last year. That’s about half the growth rate of Meta’s “family of apps”—also including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger—which grew 6% year-over-year to 3.88 billion, covering nearly half of the world’s population.

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A successful quarter for Meta

Meta had a successful quarter, reporting 11% growth in revenue ($32 billion), most of which comes from advertising, and a 16% improvement in net income ($7.8 billion). The company’s stock rose nearly 5% in after-hours trading after the announcement.

“There’s a lot to feel good about when it comes to Meta right now,” Debra Aho Williamson, a principal analyst at the market research firm Insider Intelligence, said via email. “While its competitor Snap has yet to emerge from its own advertising slump, Meta has been able to successfully turn around its business.”

Still, she said the firm expects Meta’s market share in digital advertising to fall this year, facing threats from TikTok and Amazon, and noted that the company’s metaverse and AI businesses have yet to prove themselves.

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“These challenges will weigh on Meta in the second half of the year,” she said, “but thanks to the momentum of a better than expected Q2, it will be in a stronger position to face those challenges.”