Quarter of global population used Facebook daily in December

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The number of people using Facebook daily grew to an average of two billion in December – about a quarter of the world’s population.

The bigger-than-expected growth helped drive new optimism about the company, which has been under pressure as its costs rise and advertising sales slump.

Shares in parent company Meta surged more than 15% in after-hours trade as boss Mark Zuckerberg declared 2023 the “year of efficiency”.

He said he was focused on cost cuts.

“We’re in a different environment now,” he said, pointing to the firm’s revenue, which declined in 2022 for the first time in its history after years of double-digit growth.

“We don’t anticipate that that’s going to continue, but I also don’t think it’s going to go back to the way it was before.”

Meta, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, announced a major restructuring last year, including reducing office space and cutting 11,000 jobs or about 13% of staff.

The firm said those moves cost it $4.6bn last year – hitting its profits, which were almost cut in half. It still brought it in $23.2bn in profit for the year.

Meta had alarmed investors last year when it posted the first-ever decline in daily Facebook users in its history and signalled it was focusing investments on virtual reality, known as the metaverse.

But in December, the number of users on the site daily was up 4% from a year earlier, adding users even in Europe and the US and Canada.

Meta said the number of people active across all of its apps each day was up 5% year-on-year.

Read more via BBC

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