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Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about the Facebook News feature at the Paley Center For Media in New York on Oct. 25, 2019.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth plunged by $18 billion Thursday after comments from the Meta CEO on the company’s earnings call sent its stock price to its steepest decline since October 2022.

Meta beat expectations on revenue and profit but delivered a lighter-than-expected revenue forecast. Zuckerberg told investors that the company would continue to spend billions of dollars investing in areas such as artificial intelligence and the metaverse, even though Meta counts on advertising for 98% of its revenue.

“We’ve historically seen a lot of volatility in our stock during this phase of our product playbook where we’re investing in scaling a new product but aren’t yet monetizing it,” Zuckerberg said on the call.

Zuckerberg owns around 345 million Class A and B shares. With the stock falling by $52.12 on Thursday, the value of his stake sank by about $18 billion to $152 billion by the close of trading.

The 39-year-old programmer founded the company in his Harvard dorm room in 2004, and rebranded it from Facebook to Meta in 2021, signaling to investors his plan to focus on the nonexistent metaverse.

Meta’s Reality Labs division, which houses the hardware and software for developing the metaverse, has posted cumulative losses of $45 billion since 2020, when the company first separated the unit in its financials.

Meta said it plans to spend $35 billion to $40 billion on capital expenditures this year, an increase from its prior forecast.

Zuckerberg’s fortune has swung up and down through the years, as his company’s stock has been particularly volatile. His net worth fell by around $100 billion in 2022. In early 2023, he announced Meta would embark on a “year of efficiency,” a move that helped the stock price triple for the year, bringing Zuckerberg’s net worth up with it.

Thursday wasn’t the worst day ever for Zuckerberg’s bank account. In early 2022, he lost almost $30 billion in a single day, when his company’s stock price tumbled 26% on weak earnings and disappointing guidance.

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