Here’s a question for investors and employees contemplating Meta Platforms after this week’s stock drop: Do you think Mark Zuckerberg can do it again? If you believe the co-founder of Facebook still has the startup chops to turn Meta’s metaverse investment into a lucrative business, then you’re probably going to be buying Meta stock right now. (Or if you’re an employee, you’ll hang around.) In other words, to invest in or work at Meta now is to make what’s essentially a venture bet on Zuckerberg.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration. The metaverse side of Meta is a startup with a massive cash-generating business as its backer. But you have to assume that the cash engine, the social media side, has begun a long-term decline. Facebook’s daily active users have already hit a wall, as we saw this week. Given its sheer size, and the competition it faces from TikTok, Snap and others, Facebook seems more likely to shrink than to start growing again. On top of that is the uncertain impact of the Apple ad-tracking changes on Meta’s ad business. (For more on that, see our story today).