Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook, is trumpeting that his social-media company has passed the 1 billion milestone in users.
Facebook’s stock, which has greatly disappointed investors since its debut, only rose by a few pennies on Thursday morning following the news of the 1-billion mark.
The investment community isn’t so easily impressed by big numbers. It recognizes that no matter how many users join Facebook(US:FB), Zuckerberg remains under pressure to show that his company can monetize all of those loyalists, especially, by capitalizing on the global societal shift to using mobile devices.
Of course, Zuckerberg will take good news anywhere he can get it. He is trying to improve on his questionable media strategy of keeping a low profile even as the price of his company’s stock nosedived. The shares which began trading on May 18, are trading about 42% below their $38 initial public offering price. Even as his shareholders suffered, he didn’t attempt to make public proclamations to reassure them.
Zuckerberg is clearly trying to prop up his image and take a more public stance. The 28-year-old Zuckerberg went on NBC’s (US:CMCSA) “Today” show on Thursday morning and tried to inject some fresh hope into the gloomy Facebook picture. “We’re in a tough cycle now and that doesn’t help morale, but people are focused on what they’re building.”
While Facebook does have many supporters among investment firms’ ranks of analysts, they are often drowned out by the pessimists. Barron’s recently shook up Wall Street by publishing a front-page piece proclaiming that Facebook’s stock was worth $15. Further, MarketWatch columnist Mark Hulbert took an even harder line, writing that it’s merely a $13.80 stock. (Barron’s and MarketWatch are owned by News Corp.)
Sure, it makes good media copy for Zuckerberg to tell the world that he now boasts 1 billion “friends.” But there it still must seem as if for every Facebook user, there are just about as many doubters that the company can conquer Wall Street.