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Zuckerberg's wealth crashes by $31 billion as Meta struggles in stock market

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Zuckerbergs wealth crashes by $31 billion as Meta struggles in stock market
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Meta Platforms founder Mark Zuckerberg has been pushed out of the world's top 10 richest list after a historic stock crash as Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook, saw its fourth quarter results fall far short of analysts expectations, plunging Zuckerberg's net worth by $31 billion.

The metaverse-focused company saw no new users on its platform in the last quarter, relative to previous ones, which sent stocks tumbling 24% yesterday. The collapse also put Mark Zuckerberg's net worth at $92 billion from $126.06 billion dollars according to the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index on Thursday.

It's enough to push the 37-year-old outside the list of the Top 10 wealthiest people in the world for the first time since July 2015.

A one-day wealth loss of $31 billion would rank as the second-biggest ever caused by a share-price decline, only rivaled by the volatile swings in Elon Musk's fortune. The world's richest person lost $35 billion in a day in November as Tesla Inc. shares fell following a Twitter poll in which Musk asked voters if he should sell 10% of his stake in the company. His net worth also plunged $25.8 billion last week.

Investors fleeing the long term potential of Meta is due to a combination of circumstances which has seen Facebook running at a loss due to advertising issues and legal battles with regulators who seek to break the hegemony Meta has over the social media market.

A change implemented by Apple earlier this year saw users opting out of sharing data with social media platforms which meant that Facebook could no longer offer targeted ads based on user information, leading to a loss in advertising revenue. In addition to this, the rise of short-form video platforms like TikTok and YouTube has challenged Facebook's growth, even as it seeks to introduce its own Reels feature to compete.

By far the most significant are the legal troubles which the social media giant is facing as the US Federal Trade Commission has alleged Meta holds an illegal monopoly by acquiring potential competitors that it now owns like Instagram and WhatsApp.

A federal judge in January ruled that the US regulators' re-worked anti-trust case against Facebook can go ahead, saying the complaint was more robust and detailed than the version denied in 2021 meaning a long lawsuit ahead that could potentially result in a divestiture of assets to restore competition.

Investors are also spooked by the billions required to create the full "metaverse" envisioned by Zuckerberg, which includes development of AI as well as augmented and virtual reality systems.

A "Reality Labs" unit at Meta devoted to technology for intermixing actual and virtual worlds reported a loss of $10 billion last year, according to an earnings release.

Major investors in the stock market are notoriously averse to waiting a long time for big returns, tending to trade shares based on potential for quick gains.

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TAGS:Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Stock Markets Markets 
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