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Meta Hits Record Revenue of $40.1 Billion in Q4, as Facebook and Other Apps Now Reach Nearly 4 Billion People Monthly

Meta cruised past Wall Street forecasts for the fourth quarter of 2023, turning in a record $40.1 billion in top-line revenue as net income tripled. The strong results reflect a healthy rebound in digital advertising after a downturn in 2022 that led Meta to cut back its workforce.

The social media giant, already staggeringly large, continued to add new users across platforms. Meta said monthly active users across its family of apps — Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger — was 3.98 billion as of the end of 2023, up 6% year over year. The company said Threads, its Twitter-like social app launched in July 2023, now has more than 130 million monthly active users.

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Overall, Meta’s Q4 sales were up 25% from the year prior. The company reported net income of $14.0 billion — up 201% — translating to earnings per share of $5.33. Analysts on average expected Q4 revenue of $39.18 billion and EPS of $4.96, per financial data provider LSEG.

For the first quarter of 2024, Meta expects total revenue to be $34.5 billion-$37 billion, which would represent a year-over-year increase of 20%-29%.

In addition, Meta’s board declared a cash dividend of $0.50 per share of outstanding common stock payable on March 26, 2024. “We intend to pay a cash dividend on a quarterly basis going forward, subject to market conditions and approval by our board of directors,” the company said. In addition, Meta announced a $50 billion increase in its share repurchase authorization today.

Shares of Meta soared more than 12% in after-hours trading to all-time highs of more than $443 per share.

“We had a good quarter as our community and business continue to grow,” Mark Zuckerberg, Meta co-founder and CEO, said in announcing the results. He added, “We’ve made a lot of progress on our vision for advancing AI and the metaverse.”

The earnings report comes a day after Zuckerberg testified at a contentious Senate committee hearing Wednesday, titled “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis.” During questioning, Zuckerberg stood up and apologized to parents of kids who were abused or exploited online, saying he was “sorry for everything that you all have gone through.” He testified that Meta is investing more than $20 billion in improving safety and security infrastructure and personnel across its family of social-media apps.

Meta’s Reality Labs division, which houses the Quest AR/VR headset and metaverse initiatives, generated revenue of $1.07 billion in Q4, up 32%. However, Reality Labs’ operating loss of $4.65 billion increased 8% from the year prior. The company reiterated that in 2024, it expects Reality Labs operating losses to “increase meaningfully” year-over-year “due to our ongoing product development efforts in augmented reality/virtual reality and our investments to further scale our ecosystem.”

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