For years, Facebook’s sales grew steadily and continued to grow, defying the laws of gravity, even as the company was plagued by privacy and misinformation scandals.
On Wednesday, Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, reported a 1 percent decline in quarterly revenue from the previous year. It marked the first time the social media giant’s revenues fell since it went public a decade ago, as it faces increased regulatory oversight and a turbulent economy as it tries to build a new frontier of digital communications.
Meta’s second-quarter revenue was $28.82 billion, down from $29.07 billion a year earlier. Earnings were $6.69 billion, down 36 percent from a year earlier. Wall Street analysts had forecast earnings of $7.04 billion on revenue of $28.9 billion, according to data from FactSet.
The results compounded what was a bleak day for Meta, who was also sued by the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday over a deal to buy a virtual reality company called Within. The lawsuit directly touches the aspirations of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive of Meta, who has spent billions of dollars to create an immersive world of social interaction in the “metaverse,” a combination of virtual and augmented reality that will be tied to commerce and online relationships.
Mr. Zuckerberg has told investors, technologists and others that it will take years for his vision of the metaverse to materialize and that the pursuit will be costly. Some investors are skeptical that the effort will pay off in the long run.
Still, there were bright spots in Meta’s earnings report. The company said the number of daily active people has increased to 2.88 billion, up 4 percent from a year earlier. That exceeded analysts’ expectations that the company was losing visitors. The Facebook app also saw user growth within the United States, an area some believed was saturated.
Mr. Zuckerberg said he was encouraged by other areas of Meta’s business that drive growth and engagement, such as the video product Reels, a feature on Instagram similar to TikTok’s video offering. Investments in artificial intelligence recommendation algorithms had also led to more people using the service and for longer periods of time, the company said.
“It was good to see a positive trajectory in our engagement trends this quarter from products like Reels and our investments in AI,” he said in a statement. “We are putting more effort and focus on our top business priorities that unlock both short and long-term opportunities for Meta and the people and businesses that use our services.”