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Facebook parent Meta is having a no-good, horrible day after dismal earnings report

Facebook parent company Meta's stock plummeted on Thursday, following its announcement of a dismal third quarter.

At market close on Thursday, shares in the tech company had fallen nearly 25%, selling for under $98 apiece, a level not seen since 2016.

So far this year, Meta's stock has fallen by about 70%. It's now worth around $270 billion, roughly a third of its market capitalization of just under $900 billion a year ago.

The markets are reacting to news that a slowdown in digital advertising, new security protocols on Apple devices and a bet on the metaverse have all hurt Meta's bottom line. Revenue fell 4% in the three months from July through September when compared with a year earlier, from $29 billion to $27.7 billion, the company said Wednesday.

A strong U.S. dollar also has been bad for global companies like Meta. Headquartered in the United States, their products and services, which are going for less in other currencies, are turning a smaller profit back home.

It has been a particularly bad week for tech.

Google parent Alphabet, which reported earnings Tuesday, also struggled amid a downturn in digital ads. Revenue from Google advertising was $54.5 billion in the three months from July to September, down from $56.3 billion the prior quarter.

Microsoft reported the slowest growth it has seen in five years.

But Meta's woes are deeper than its fellow tech titans' because it is investing heavily in a future called the metaverse — a new space built around virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

"I think that our work here is going to be of historic importance and create the foundation for an entirely new way that we will interact with each other and blend technology into our lives," Zuckerberg said on a call with investors Wednesday.

While Zuckerberg has signaled layoffs across most teams to counter losses, the CEO said hiring would increase in other "high priority" areas — namely to build up the metaverse.

Investors have criticized Zuckerberg for spending big on an idea that isn't fully fleshed out despite his optimism in his investment.

"The tougher prioritization and discipline and efficiency that we're driving across the organization will help us navigate the current environment," he told investors on the call.

More Meta shareholders sold off stocks during the day Thursday.

Last week, Snap shares plummeted 30% after the social media company, which is smaller than giants Meta and Alphabet, missed revenue estimates.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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