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 jumped 24%. 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.
Overall, Meta’s Q4 sales were up 25% from the year prior. The company reported net income of $14.0 billion, 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.
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.
“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.
More to come.