Victor Wynne

Meta’s shift away from the ‘daily active users’ metric


Ed Zitron:

In the first quarter of 2024, Meta made $36.45 billion dollars - $12.37 billion dollars of which was pure profit. Though the company no longer reports daily active users, it now uses another metric: “family daily active people.” This number refers to “registered and logged-in users of one or more of Facebook’s Family products who visited at least one of these products on a particular day.”

This quiet, seemingly innocent change to how Meta reports growth is significant insofar as it will no longer have to report its Daily Active or Monthly active users, meaning that the only source of truth in Meta’s growth story is a vague growth metric that could be manipulated to mean just about anything. Three billion “daily active people” across Meta’s “family” combines WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Messenger (which I’m confident it counts separately), Oculus, and Threads.

What’s confusing is that in its Q4 2023 earnings, Meta reported it had 2.11 billion daily active users across its properties — a number that is somehow distinct from the 3.19 billion “family daily active people” that it reported in the same earnings. Daily Active Users is a simple metric — how many people have engaged with a product in a given day — but Daily Family Daily Active People is a number that is somehow so distinct that it’s a billion users higher.

I am pulling out the facts from this piece, but casting aside the assertion that Facebook is dying. With so many varied use apps I believe individual active people are having their sessions counted twice, and to a certain extent it makes sense, because they’re likely using multiple accounts. Oculus was never accounted for, and Threads hasn’t been around for very long. Meta has enough identifying information about our devices to account for this, but choosing not to. It’s a beneficial change for their reporting to shareholders, but the idea that it’s a precursor to death is sheer idiocy.