Facebook warns growth set to slow ‘significantly’


Facebook has warned that it expects revenue growth to slow down “significantly” in the second half of 2021. The tech giant saw revenue rise to $29bn (£21bn) in the three months to 30 June, up from $18.69bn last year. But it said that sales would slow “as we lap periods of increasingly strong growth”.

It had benefitted from firms targeting consumers with online ads during lockdown.

Its shares fell as much as 5% in after-hours trading.

Its founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said: “We had a strong quarter as we continue to help businesses grow and people stay connected.”

The number of people using the social network monthly rose to 2.9 billion.

And although its profits doubled to $10.4bn in the second quarter, the company cautioned that it expects “year-over-year total revenue growth rates to decelerate significantly on a sequential basis.”

The California-based company also pointed towards a number of other challenges it would face in the coming months, such as new privacy controls that Apple introduced in April.

They are aimed at limiting advertisers from tracking iPhone users without their knowledge, which Facebook said was likely to have an impact on its income, particularly between July and October, and it has factored into its projections for how it will perform.

If consumers opt out of being tracked, it makes it harder for firms such as Facebook to target adverts, which make up a big chunk of their revenue.

Paolo Pescatore, an analyst at PP Foresight, said: “It is apparent that the Facebook user base is skewed to iOS users and will continue to be negatively impacted from the iOS change.

Other technology firms “have seemed to navigate this challenge but all will see a negative impact longer-term” he said.

Facebook also faced several investigations over its handling of users’ personal information, both in the UK and Ireland and overseas.

In April, for example, the Irish Data Protection Commission launched an investigation into a data leak in which the details of hundreds of millions of Facebook users were published online.

Facebook said it was “co-operating fully” with the relevant authorities.

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