Facebook faces unfriendly growth numbers

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Facebook faces unfriendly growth numbers

Facebook faces unfriendly growth numbers
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There was a not very friendly investor reaction to Facebook’s drastic slowdown in revenue growth.

The social networking website also offered no financial forecasts in its first earnings report since it sold shares.

The figures did nothing to ease concerns over how it can boost advertising.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg countered that the company is seeing encouraging results from newly introduced advertising services.

Analyst Anupam Palit with Greencrest Capital said the numbers showed the share value was overhyped: “People felt Facebook was somehow a special company; that they could grow at an enormous clip forever, very high double-digit rates, no company can do that. People felt that operating margins at 50 percent plus were sustainable – no company can do that. And what we are seeing this quarter is that the growth slowdown and the margin now being defensible is coming down as well. This company is coming back down to earth.”

Facebook’s biggest growth obstacle remains the large number of users who access it via mobile devices which only recently began to offer limited forms of advertising.

Zuckerberg said they are investing “heavily” to build a strong mobile business.

Shares of Facebook, which have shed a third of their value since their haphazard May debut at $38, broke below $24 in frenzied after-hours trading.

Facebook’s stock fell nine percent during regular trading on Thursday.

On Wednesday, social games leader Zynga – which accounts for over one tenth of Facebook’s revenue and faces the same challenge of earning off mobile users – stunned investors after slashing its 2012 earnings forecasts.