Facebook shares slump

Shares of Facebook closed 1.2 percent lower at $24.03 on Nasdaq amid a broad decline in the market.
SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg faced a barrage of questions on Tuesday about the company's slumping stock price during the social networking company's first shareholder meeting since its rocky initial public offering last May.

Zuckerberg, who has presided over a 37 percent decline in the stock since its debut at $38, said he believed Facebook was on the right path toward long-term success, even though he was disappointed with its performance on Wall Street.

Nothing "has made me really think that the fundamental strategy is wrong or that what we're building isn't valuable," the Facebook co-founder said.

In what Zuckerberg acknowledged had become a "theme" of the meeting, several Facebook shareholders complained during the question-and-answer session about how they had suffered from the stock's decline.

They shared personal anecdotes about buying the stock with high hopes, and sought guidance on whether they might ever recoup their losses.

Facebook, with about 1.1 billion users, became the first U.S. company to debut on stock markets with a value of more than $100 billion.

The company scrambled to address one of the main concerns weighing on the stock price, by developing mobile ads better suited to small smartphone screens that users increasingly use to access the service.

Mobile ads account for 30 percent of Facebook's ad revenue but revenue growth remains sharply below that of two years ago, and the popularity of new mobile apps aimed at younger users has raised concerns that Facebook may risk losing its grip on consumers.

Zuckerberg said Facebook would continue to grow alongside newer, rival services.

"None of the trends that we see right now seem like they should get in the way of our success in any meaningful way."

He noted at another point during the event that the amount of "likes" and comments that users post on the service "has gone up per person about 50 percent" during the past year.

Facebook shares closed 1.2 percent lower at $24.03 on Nasdaq amid a broad decline in the market.