One society’s suffering can only be a company’s growth opportunity for so long.

Facebook released its third-quarter earnings report Thursday, letting investors around the world know that not even the coronavirus can slow its inexorable march toward riches — it clocked in a cool $21 billion in revenue this quarter alone. There was one bit of interesting news, however, buried within: Facebook’s number of daily active and monthly active users in the United States and Canada is declining, and it expects to continue to lose users in those countries throughout the end of the year. 

As the pandemic continues to drag on in the United States, killing over 213,000 in the process as of this writing, Facebook has for the most part chugged right along — exceeding investor expectations and increasing the number of daily active users along the way. No more. While the decrease in users is slight, it’s especially notable at a time when people are still stuck in their homes due to the pandemic.

Does this mean that people are abandoning the toxic social media platform in droves? Not exactly. Daily active users in the U.S. and Canada are down to 196 million, from 198 million last quarter. Monthly active users are down to 255 million, from 256 million last quarter. And, in the rest of the world, user numbers are flat or actually up. 

Facebook admits its pandemic-juiced user growth is coming to an end

“As expected, in the third quarter of 2020, we saw Facebook DAUs [daily active users] and MAUs [monthly active users] in the US & Canada decline slightly from the second quarter 2020 levels which were elevated due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads the earnings release in part. 

Facebook, in other words, believes that the pandemic gave it a user bump and now that bump is wearing off. If this is correct, it’s not exactly clear how much of a decline the Q3 U.S. and Canada users numbers actually represent. The decline of revealed today might simply be a reversion to Facebook’s typical rates of user growth. But maybe not. 

Facebook admits its pandemic-juiced user growth is coming to an end

Either way, Facebook doesn’t think this trend of users walking away has fully played out. 

“In the fourth quarter of 2020, we expect this trend to continue and that the number of DAUs and MAUs in the US & Canada will be flat or slightly down compared to the third quarter of 2020.”

In other words, people aren’t yet done with being done with Facebook. All of which goes to show, good things can still happen in an otherwise dreadful year. 

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