Wehner warned that Facebook has opted to give users "more choices around data privacy" and this "may have an impact on our revenue growth".
This week has seen more embarrassment with the publication of a series of ads sent out on Facebook during the UK's European Union referendum in 2016. Twitter was down 6 percent, Amazon and Google 2 percent and Apple 1 percent. "We're starting to see that this quarter", he said.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney said the drop creates a rare buying opportunity for Facebook shares.
That "bombshell", as one analyst termed it, played into concerns on Wall Street that Facebook's model could be under threat after a year that has been dominated by efforts to head off concerns over privacy and its role in global news flow.
Until Wednesday, Facebook shares had been at record highs as investors seemed to shrug off fears about data protection and probes into the hijacking of private information by the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. The company was bombarded by public criticism over its content policies, especially in countries such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka where misinformation has led to violence. "Our view is that the company is far from out of the woods", Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research said. Total revenue rose 42% to $13.2 billion and the tally of monthly active users came in at 2.23 billion, up 11% from the prior-year period. The company said its daily active users dropped as well.
Factors contributing to Facebook's slowing sales growth include currency-exchange rates, compared with "the tailwinds we have experienced over the last several quarters", Wehner said. We expect Facebook to get back on track by the end of 2019, and expect revenues and profits to grow for many years. "W$3 hile the company is still growing at a fast clip, the days of 30%+ [revenue] growth are numbered", he wrote.
At the same time, the company also reported that growth was flat in North America.
More likely, though, market buzzards are holding off because of how quickly some analysts are turning on the company.
After the earnings report, executives worked to explain the potential of Facebook's other properties, not just the main social network, to fuel growth. "We've seen a greater-than-expected efficiency in a lot of our spend in things like warehouses, data centres, marketing".
Facebook disclosed in a security filing it will pay the $10 million in cash, which surpasses the $7.3 million the company paid for Zuckerberg's personal security detail in 2017. "Real world issues that people thought should affect the company are now affecting the company".