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Meta Platforms, Inc. (FB) SEC Filing 10-K Annual Report for the fiscal year ending Friday, December 31, 2021

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Meta Platforms, Inc.

CIK: 1326801 Ticker: META


Meta Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 Results

MENLO PARK, Calif. – February 2, 2022 – Meta Platforms, Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) today reported financial results for the quarter and full year ended December 31, 2021.

"We had a solid quarter as people turned to our products to stay connected and businesses continued to use our services to grow," said Mark Zuckerberg, Meta founder and CEO. "I'm encouraged by the progress we made this past year in a number of important growth areas like Reels, commerce, and virtual reality, and we'll continue investing in these and other key priorities in 2022 as we work towards building the metaverse."

Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 Financial Highlights
Three Months Ended December 31,Year-over-Year % ChangeYear Ended December 31,Year-over-Year % Change
In millions, except percentages and per share amounts2021202020212020
Total revenue$33,671 $28,072 20 %$117,929 $85,965 37 %
Total costs and expenses21,086 15,297 38 %71,176 53,294 34 %
Income from operations$12,585 $12,775 (1)%$46,753 $32,671 43 %
Operating margin37 %46 %40 %38 %
Provision for income taxes$2,417 $1,836 32 %$7,914 $4,034 96 %
Effective tax rate 19 %14 %17 %12 %
Net income$10,285 $11,219 (8)%$39,370 $29,146 35 %
Diluted earnings per share (EPS)$3.67 $3.88 (5)%$13.77 $10.09 36 %

Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 Operational and Other Financial Highlights

Family daily active people (DAP) – DAP was 2.82 billion on average for December 2021, an increase of 8% year-over-year.
Family monthly active people (MAP) – MAP was 3.59 billion as of December 31, 2021, an increase of 9% year-over-year.
Facebook daily active users (DAUs) – DAUs were 1.93 billion on average for December 2021, an increase of 5% year-over-year.
Facebook monthly active users (MAUs) – MAUs were 2.91 billion as of December 31, 2021, an increase of 4% year-over-year.
Ad impressions and price per ad – In the fourth quarter of 2021, ad impressions delivered across our Family of Apps increased by 13% year-over-year and the average price per ad increased by 6% year-over-year. For the full year 2021, ad impressions increased by 10% year-over-year and the average price per ad increased by 24% year-over-year.
Capital expenditures – Capital expenditures, including principal payments on finance leases, were $5.54 billion and $19.24 billion for the fourth quarter and full year 2021, respectively.
Share repurchases – We repurchased $19.18 billion and $44.81 billion of our Class A common stock in the fourth quarter and full year 2021, respectively. As of December 31, 2021, we had $38.79 billion available and authorized for repurchases.
Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities – Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities were $48.0 billion as of December 31, 2021.
Headcount – Headcount was 71,970 as of December 31, 2021, an increase of 23% year-over-year.


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The following information was filed by Meta Platforms, Inc (META) on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 as an 8K 2.02 statement, which is an earnings press release pertaining to results of operations and financial condition. It may be helpful to assess the quality of management by comparing the information in the press release to the information in the accompanying 10-K Annual Report statement of earnings and operation as management may choose to highlight particular information in the press release.

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
__________________________

FORM 10-K
__________________________
(Mark One)
    ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
or
    TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from            to            
Commission File Number: 001-35551
__________________________
fb-20211231_g1.jpg
Meta Platforms, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
__________________________
Delaware20-1665019
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)
1601 Willow Road, Menlo Park, California 94025
(Address of principal executive offices and Zip Code)
(650) 543-4800
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
__________________________
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Class A Common Stock, $0.000006 par valueFBThe Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes  ☐  No   ☒
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No  ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  ☒    No  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes  ☒    No  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company," and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes  ☐    No   ☒

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2021, the last business day of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was $857 billion based upon the closing price reported for such date on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. On January 28, 2022, the registrant had 2,309,080,018 shares of Class A common stock and 412,861,942 shares of Class B common stock outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the registrant's Proxy Statement for the 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated herein by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the extent stated herein. Such proxy statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the registrant's fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.



Meta Platforms, Inc.
Form 10-K

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page




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NOTE ABOUT FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements. All statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K other than statements of historical fact, including statements regarding our future results of operations and financial position, our business strategy and plans, and our objectives for future operations, are forward-looking statements. The words "believe," "may," "will," "estimate," "continue," "anticipate," "intend," "expect," and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy, short-term and long-term business operations and objectives, and financial needs. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including those described in Part I, Item 1A, "Risk Factors" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks emerge from time to time. It is not possible for our management to predict all risks, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements we may make. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the future events and trends discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may not occur and actual results could differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements.

We undertake no obligation to revise or publicly release the results of any revision to these forward-looking statements, except as required by law. Given these risks and uncertainties, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.

In October 2021, we changed our corporate name from Facebook, Inc. to Meta Platforms, Inc. We will not distinguish between our prior and current corporate name and will refer to our current corporate name throughout this Annual Report on Form 10-K. As such, unless expressly indicated or the context requires otherwise, the terms "Meta," "company," "we," "us," and "our" in this document refer to Meta Platforms, Inc., a Delaware corporation, and, where appropriate, its subsidiaries. The term "Family" refers to our Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp products. For references to accessing Meta's products on the "web" or via a "website," such terms refer to accessing such products on personal computers. For references to accessing Meta's products on "mobile," such term refers to accessing such products via a mobile application or via a mobile-optimized version of our websites such as m.facebook.com, whether on a mobile phone or tablet.
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LIMITATIONS OF KEY METRICS AND OTHER DATA

The numbers for our key metrics are calculated using internal company data based on the activity of user accounts. We have historically reported the numbers of our daily active users (DAUs), monthly active users (MAUs), and average revenue per user (ARPU) (collectively, our "Facebook metrics") based on user activity only on Facebook and Messenger and not on our other products. Beginning with our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, we also report our estimates of the numbers of our daily active people (DAP), monthly active people (MAP), and average revenue per person (ARPP) (collectively, our "Family metrics") based on the activity of users who visited at least one of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp (collectively, our "Family" of products) during the applicable period of measurement. We believe our Family metrics better reflect the size of our community and the fact that many people are using more than one of our products. As a result, over time we intend to report our Family metrics as key metrics in place of DAUs, MAUs, and ARPU in our periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While these numbers are based on what we believe to be reasonable estimates of our user base for the applicable period of measurement, there are inherent challenges in measuring usage of our products across large online and mobile populations around the world. The methodologies used to measure these metrics require significant judgment and are also susceptible to algorithm or other technical errors. In addition, we are continually seeking to improve our estimates of our user base, and such estimates may change due to improvements or changes in our methodology. We regularly review our processes for calculating these metrics, and from time to time we discover inaccuracies in our metrics or make adjustments to improve their accuracy, which can result in adjustments to our historical metrics. Our ability to recalculate our historical metrics may be impacted by data limitations or other factors that require us to apply different methodologies for such adjustments. We generally do not intend to update previously disclosed Family metrics for any such inaccuracies or adjustments that are within the error margins disclosed below.

In addition, our Family metrics and Facebook metrics estimates will differ from estimates published by third parties due to differences in methodology.

Family Metrics

Many people in our community have user accounts on more than one of our products, and some people have multiple user accounts within an individual product. Accordingly, for our Family metrics, we do not seek to count the total number of user accounts across our products because we believe that would not reflect the actual size of our community. Rather, our Family metrics represent our estimates of the number of unique people using at least one of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. We do not require people to use a common identifier or link their accounts to use multiple products in our Family, and therefore must seek to attribute multiple user accounts within and across products to individual people. To calculate these metrics, we rely upon complex techniques, algorithms and machine learning models that seek to count the individual people behind user accounts, including by matching multiple user accounts within an individual product and across multiple products when we believe they are attributable to a single person, and counting such group of accounts as one person. These techniques and models require significant judgment, are subject to data and other limitations discussed below, and inherently are subject to statistical variances and uncertainties. We estimate the potential error in our Family metrics primarily based on user survey data, which itself is subject to error as well. While we expect the error margin for our Family metrics to vary from period to period, we estimate that such margin generally will be approximately 3% of our worldwide MAP. At our scale, it is very difficult to attribute multiple user accounts within and across products to individual people, and it is possible that the actual numbers of unique people using our products may vary significantly from our estimates, potentially beyond our estimated error margins. As a result, it is also possible that our Family metrics may indicate changes or trends in user numbers that do not match actual changes or trends.

To calculate our estimates of Family DAP and MAP, we currently use a series of machine learning models that are developed based on internal reviews of limited samples of user accounts and calibrated against user survey data. We apply significant judgment in designing these models and calculating these estimates. For example, to match user accounts within individual products and across multiple products, we use data signals such as similar device information, IP addresses, and user names. We also calibrate our models against data from periodic user surveys of varying sizes and frequency across our products, which are inherently subject to error. The timing and results of such user surveys have in the past contributed, and may in the future contribute, to changes in our reported Family metrics from period to period. In addition, our data limitations may affect our understanding of certain details of our business and increase the risk of error for our Family metrics estimates. Our techniques and models rely on a variety of data signals from different products, and we rely on more limited data signals
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for some products compared to others. For example, as a result of limited visibility into encrypted products, we have fewer data signals from WhatsApp user accounts and primarily rely on phone numbers and device information to match WhatsApp user accounts with accounts on our other products. Similarly, although Messenger Kids users are included in our Family metrics, we do not seek to match their accounts with accounts on our other applications for purposes of calculating DAP and MAP. Any loss of access to data signals we use in our process for calculating Family metrics, whether as a result of our own product decisions, actions by third-party browser or mobile platforms, regulatory or legislative requirements, limitations while our personnel work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, or other factors, also may impact the stability or accuracy of our reported Family metrics, as well as our ability to report these metrics at all. Our estimates of Family metrics also may change as our methodologies evolve, including through the application of new data signals or technologies, product changes, or other improvements in our user surveys, algorithms, or machine learning that may improve our ability to match accounts within and across our products or otherwise evaluate the broad population of our users. In addition, such evolution may allow us to identify previously undetected violating accounts (as defined below).

We regularly evaluate our Family metrics to estimate the percentage of our MAP consisting solely of "violating" accounts. We define "violating" accounts as accounts which we believe are intended to be used for purposes that violate our terms of service, including bots and spam. In the fourth quarter of 2021, we estimated that approximately 3% of our worldwide MAP consisted solely of violating accounts. Such estimation is based on an internal review of a limited sample of accounts, and we apply significant judgment in making this determination. For example, we look for account information and behaviors associated with Facebook and Instagram accounts that appear to be inauthentic to the reviewers, but we have limited visibility into WhatsApp user activity due to encryption. In addition, if we believe an individual person has one or more violating accounts, we do not include such person in our violating accounts estimation as long as we believe they have one account that does not constitute a violating account. From time to time, we disable certain user accounts, make product changes, or take other actions to reduce the number of violating accounts among our users, which may also reduce our DAP and MAP estimates in a particular period. We intend to disclose our estimates of the percentage of our MAP consisting solely of violating accounts on an annual basis. Violating accounts are very difficult to measure at our scale, and it is possible that the actual number of violating accounts may vary significantly from our estimates.

The numbers of Family DAP and MAP discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as ARPP, do not include users on our other products, unless they would otherwise qualify as DAP or MAP, respectively, based on their other activities on our Family products.

Facebook Metrics

We regularly evaluate our Facebook metrics to estimate the number of "duplicate" and "false" accounts among our MAUs. A duplicate account is one that a user maintains in addition to his or her principal account. We divide "false" accounts into two categories: (1) user-misclassified accounts, where users have created personal profiles for a business, organization, or non-human entity such as a pet (such entities are permitted on Facebook using a Page rather than a personal profile under our terms of service); and (2) violating accounts, which represent user profiles that we believe are intended to be used for purposes that violate our terms of service, such as bots and spam. The estimates of duplicate and false accounts are based on an internal review of a limited sample of accounts, and we apply significant judgment in making this determination. For example, to identify duplicate accounts we use data signals such as identical IP addresses and similar user names, and to identify false accounts we look for names that appear to be fake or other behavior that appears inauthentic to the reviewers. Any loss of access to data signals we use in this process, whether as a result of our own product decisions, actions by third-party browser or mobile platforms, regulatory or legislative requirements, limitations while our personnel work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, or other factors, also may impact the stability or accuracy of our estimates of duplicate and false accounts. Our estimates also may change as our methodologies evolve, including through the application of new data signals or technologies or product changes that may allow us to identify previously undetected duplicate or false accounts and may improve our ability to evaluate a broader population of our users. Duplicate and false accounts are very difficult to measure at our scale, and it is possible that the actual number of duplicate and false accounts may vary significantly from our estimates.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, we estimated that duplicate accounts may have represented approximately 11% of our worldwide MAUs. We believe the percentage of duplicate accounts is meaningfully higher in developing markets such as the Philippines and Vietnam, as compared to more developed markets. In the fourth quarter of 2021, we estimated that false accounts may have represented approximately 5% of our worldwide MAUs. Our estimation of false accounts can vary as a result of episodic spikes in the creation of such accounts, which we have seen originate more frequently in specific countries
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such as Indonesia, Nigeria, and Vietnam. From time to time, we disable certain user accounts, make product changes, or take other actions to reduce the number of duplicate or false accounts among our users, which may also reduce our DAU and MAU estimates in a particular period. We intend to disclose our estimates of the number of duplicate and false accounts among our MAUs on an annual basis.

The numbers of DAUs and MAUs discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as ARPU, do not include users on Instagram, WhatsApp, or our other products, unless they would otherwise qualify as DAUs or MAUs, respectively, based on their other activities on Facebook.

User Geography

Our data regarding the geographic location of our users is estimated based on a number of factors, such as the user's IP address and self-disclosed location. These factors may not always accurately reflect the user's actual location. For example, a user may appear to be accessing Facebook from the location of the proxy server that the user connects to rather than from the user's actual location. The methodologies used to measure our metrics are also susceptible to algorithm or other technical errors, and our estimates for revenue by user location and revenue by user device are also affected by these factors.
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PART I

Item 1.Business

Overview

Our mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. All of our products, including our apps, share the vision of helping to bring the metaverse to life.

We build technology that helps people connect, find communities, and grow businesses. Our useful and engaging products enable people to connect and share with friends and family through mobile devices, personal computers, virtual reality (VR) headsets, wearables, and in-home devices. We also help people discover and learn about what is going on in the world around them, enable people to share their opinions, ideas, photos and videos, and other activities with audiences ranging from their closest family members and friends to the public at large, and stay connected everywhere by accessing our products. Meta is moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the metaverse, which we believe is the next evolution in social technology.

We report financial results for two segments: Family of Apps (FoA) and Reality Labs (RL). For FoA, we generate substantially all of our revenue from selling advertising placements to marketers. Ads on our platforms enable marketers to reach people based on a variety of factors including age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors. Marketers purchase ads that can appear in multiple places including on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and third-party applications and websites. RL generates revenue from sales of consumer hardware products, software and content. Our products include:

Family of Apps

Facebook. Facebook helps give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. It's a place for people to share life's moments and discuss what's happening, nurture and build relationships, discover and connect to interests, and create economic opportunity. They can do this through News Feed, Stories, Groups, Watch, Marketplace, Reels, Dating, and more.

Instagram. Instagram brings people closer to the people and things they love. Instagram Feed, Stories, Reels, Video, Live, Shops, and messaging are places where people and creators can express themselves and push culture forward through photos, video, and private messaging, and connect with and shop from their favorite businesses.

Messenger. Messenger is a simple yet powerful messaging application for people to connect with friends, family, groups, and businesses across platforms and devices through chat, audio and video calls, and Rooms.

WhatsApp. WhatsApp is a simple, reliable, and secure messaging application that is used by people and businesses around the world to communicate and transact in a private way.

Reality Labs

Reality Labs. Reality Labs' augmented and virtual reality products help people feel connected, anytime, anywhere. Meta Quest lets people defy distance with cutting-edge VR hardware, software, and content. Facebook Portal video calling devices help friends and families stay connected and share the moments that matter in meaningful ways.

Competition

Our business is characterized by innovation, rapid change, and disruptive technologies. We compete with companies providing connection, sharing, discovery, and communication products and services to users online, as well as companies that sell advertising to businesses looking to reach consumers and/or develop tools and systems for managing and optimizing advertising campaigns. We face significant competition in every aspect of our business, including, but not limited to, companies that facilitate the ability of users to share, communicate, and discover content and information online or enable marketers to reach their existing or prospective audiences, including, for example, Alphabet (Google and YouTube),
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Amazon, Apple, ByteDance (TikTok), Microsoft, Snap (Snapchat), Tencent (WeChat), and Twitter. We compete to attract, engage, and retain people who use our products, to attract and retain businesses who use our free or paid business and advertising services, and to attract and retain developers to build compelling mobile and web applications that integrate with our products. We also compete with companies that develop and deliver consumer hardware and virtual and augmented reality products and services. As we introduce or acquire new products, as our existing products evolve, or as other companies introduce new products and services, including as part of efforts to develop the metaverse, we may become subject to additional competition.

Technology

Our product development philosophy centers on continuous innovation in creating and improving products that are social by design, which means that our products are designed to place people and their social interactions at the core of the product experience. As our user base grows, as engagement with products like video and VR increases, and as we deepen our investment in new technologies like artificial intelligence, our computing needs continue to expand. We make significant investments in technology both to improve our existing products and services and to develop new ones, as well as for our marketers and developers. We are also investing in protecting the security, privacy, and integrity of our platform by investing in both people and technology to strengthen our systems against abuse.

Sales and Operations

The majority of our marketers use our self-service ad platform to launch and manage their advertising campaigns. We also have a global sales force that is focused on attracting and retaining advertisers and providing support to them throughout the stages of the marketing cycle from pre-purchase decision-making to real-time optimizations to post-campaign analytics. We work directly with these advertisers, as well as through advertising agencies and resellers. We operate in more than 80 cities around the globe, the majority of which have a sales presence. We also invest in and rely on self-service tools to provide direct customer support to our users and partners.

Marketing

Historically, our communities have generally grown organically with people inviting their friends to connect with them, supported by internal efforts to stimulate awareness and interest. In addition, we have invested and will continue to invest in marketing our products and services to grow our brand and help build community around the world.

Intellectual Property

To establish and protect our proprietary rights, we rely on a combination of patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, including know-how, license agreements, confidentiality procedures, non-disclosure agreements with third parties, employee disclosure and invention assignment agreements, and other contractual rights. In addition, to further protect our proprietary rights, from time to time we have purchased patents and patent applications from third parties. We do not believe that our proprietary technology is dependent on any single patent or copyright or groups of related patents or copyrights. We believe the duration of our patents is adequate relative to the expected lives of our products.

Government Regulation

We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States and abroad that involve matters central to our business, many of which are still evolving and being tested in courts, and could be interpreted in ways that could harm our business. These laws and regulations involve matters including privacy, data use, data protection and personal information, biometrics, encryption, rights of publicity, content, intellectual property, advertising, marketing, distribution, data security, data retention and deletion, data localization and storage, data disclosure, artificial intelligence, electronic contracts and other communications, competition, protection of minors, consumer protection, civil rights, telecommunications, product liability, e-commerce, taxation, economic or other trade controls including sanctions, anti-corruption and political law compliance, securities law compliance, and online payment services. In particular, we are subject to federal, state, and foreign laws regarding privacy and protection of people's data. Foreign data protection, privacy, content, competition, consumer protection, and other laws and regulations can impose different obligations, or penalties or fines for non-compliance, or be more restrictive than those in the United States.

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These U.S. federal and state and foreign laws and regulations, which in some cases can be enforced by private parties in addition to government entities, are constantly evolving and can be subject to significant change. As a result, the application, interpretation, and enforcement of these laws and regulations are often uncertain, particularly in the new and rapidly evolving industry in which we operate, and may be interpreted and applied inconsistently from country to country and inconsistently with our current policies and practices. For example, regulatory or legislative actions affecting the manner in which we display content to our users or obtain consent to various practices, or otherwise relating to content that is made available on our products, could adversely affect our financial results. In the United States, there have been, and continue to be, various efforts to remove or restrict the scope of the protections available to online platforms under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, and any such changes may increase our costs or require significant changes to our products, business practices, or operations, which could adversely affect our business and financial results.

We are also subject to evolving laws and regulations that dictate whether, how, and under what circumstances we can transfer, process and/or receive certain data that is critical to our operations, including data shared between countries or regions in which we operate and data shared among our products and services. If we are unable to transfer data between and among countries and regions in which we operate, or if we are restricted from sharing data among our products and services, it could affect our ability to provide our services, the manner in which we provide our services or our ability to target ads, which could adversely affect our financial results. For example, the Privacy Shield, a transfer framework we relied upon for data transferred from the European Union to the United States, was invalidated in July 2020 by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). In addition, the other bases upon which Meta relies to transfer such data, such as Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs), have been subjected to regulatory and judicial scrutiny. In August 2020, we received a preliminary draft decision from the Irish Data Protection Commission (IDPC) that preliminarily concluded that Meta Platforms Ireland's reliance on SCCs in respect of European user data does not achieve compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and preliminarily proposed that such transfers of user data from the European Union to the United States should therefore be suspended. We believe a final decision in this inquiry may issue as early as the first half of 2022. If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs or rely upon other alternative means of data transfers from Europe to the United States, we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe, which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We have been subject to other significant legislative and regulatory developments in the past, and proposed or new legislation and regulations could significantly affect our business. For example, the GDPR includes operational requirements for companies that receive or process personal data of residents of the European Union that are different from those previously in place in the European Union, requires submission of personal data breach notifications to our lead European Union privacy regulator, the IDPC, and includes significant penalties for non-compliance with the notification obligation as well as other requirements of the regulation. The GDPR is still a relatively new law, its interpretation is still evolving, and draft decisions in investigations by the IDPC are subject to review by other European privacy regulators as part of the GDPR's consistency mechanism, which may lead to significant changes in the final outcome of such investigations. As a result, the interpretation and enforcement of the GDPR, as well as the imposition and amount of penalties for non-compliance, are subject to significant uncertainty. In addition, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and other countries have enacted similar data protection regulations imposing data privacy-related requirements on products and services offered to users in their respective jurisdictions. The California Consumer Privacy Act, which took effect in January 2020, and its successor, the California Privacy Rights Act, which will take effect in January 2023, also establish certain transparency rules and create new data privacy rights for users. In addition, effective December 2020, the European Union's ePrivacy Directive includes additional limitations on the use of data across messaging products and includes significant penalties for non-compliance. Changes to our products or business practices as a result of these or similar developments may adversely affect our advertising business. Similarly, there are a number of legislative proposals in the European Union, the United States, at both the federal and state level, as well as other jurisdictions that could impose new obligations or limitations in areas affecting our business. For example, the proposed Digital Markets Act in the European Union and pending proposals to modify competition laws in the United States and other jurisdictions could cause us to incur significant compliance costs and could potentially impose new restrictions and requirements on companies like ours, including in areas such as the combination of data across services, mergers and acquisitions, and product design. In addition, some countries, such as India, are considering or have passed legislation implementing data protection requirements or requiring local storage and processing of data or similar requirements that could increase the cost and complexity of delivering our services. New legislation or regulatory decisions that restrict our ability to collect and use information about minors may also result in limitations on our advertising services or our ability to offer products and services to minors in certain jurisdictions.

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We are, and expect to continue to be, the subject of investigations, inquiries, data requests, requests for information, actions, and audits by government authorities and regulators in the United States, Europe, and around the world, particularly in the areas of privacy, data protection, law enforcement, consumer protection, civil rights, content moderation, and competition, as we continue to grow and expand our operations. We are also currently, and may in the future be, subject to regulatory orders or consent decrees, including the modified consent order we entered into with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which took effect in April 2020 and, among other matters, requires us to maintain a comprehensive privacy program. Orders issued by, or inquiries or enforcement actions initiated by, government or regulatory authorities could cause us to incur substantial costs, expose us to unanticipated civil and criminal liability or penalties (including substantial monetary remedies), interrupt or require us to change our business practices in a manner materially adverse to our business, result in negative publicity and reputational harm, divert resources and the time and attention of management from our business, or subject us to other structural or behavioral remedies that adversely affect our business.

For additional information about government regulation applicable to our business, see Part I, Item 1A, "Risk Factors" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Human Capital

At Meta, we design products to bring the world closer together, one connection at a time. As a company, we believe that people are at the heart of every connection we build. We are proud of our unique company culture where ideas, innovation, and impact win, and we work hard to build strong teams across engineering, product design, marketing, and other areas to further our mission.

We had a global workforce of 71,970 employees as of December 31, 2021, which represents a 23% year-over-year increase in employee headcount. We expect headcount growth to continue for the foreseeable future, particularly as we continue to focus on recruiting employees in technical functions. In addition, we plan to continue to hire a number of employees and contractors to continue to bolster various privacy, safety, security, and content review initiatives as well as other functions to support our expected growth.

Our headquarters are located in Menlo Park, California and we have offices in more than 80 cities around the globe. The vast majority of our personnel are currently working remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the long term, we expect some personnel to continue to transition to working remotely on a regular basis. We offer most of our full-time employees the option to work remotely on a regular basis.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, equity and inclusion are core to our work at Meta. We seek to build a diverse and inclusive workplace where we can leverage our collective cognitive diversity to build the best products and make the best decisions for the global community we serve. While we have made progress, we still have more work to do.

As part of our diversity and inclusion report, we publish our global gender diversity and U.S. ethnic diversity workforce data annually. As of June 30, 2021, our global employee base was comprised of 36.7% females and 63.3% males, and our U.S. employee base was comprised of the following ethnicities: 45.7% Asian, 39.1% White, 6.5% Hispanic, 4.4% Black, 3.9% two or more ethnicities, and 0.4% additional groups (including American Indian or Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander). In recent years, we also announced our goals to have 50% of our workforce made up of underrepresented groups by 2024, and to increase the representation of people of color in leadership positions in the United States, including Black leadership, by 30% from 2020 to 2025. We will also continue our ongoing efforts to increase the representation of women in leadership.

We work to support our goals of diversifying our workforce through recruiting, retention, people development, and inclusion. We employ our Diverse Slate Approach in our global recruitment efforts, which ensures that teams and hiring managers have the opportunity to consider qualified people from underrepresented groups for open roles. We have seen steady increases in hiring rates of people from underrepresented groups since we started testing this approach in 2015. We also continue to develop inclusive internship programs, and Meta University, our training program for college freshmen and sophomores with an interest in Computer Science, also utilizes a proactive and inclusive approach to promote participation by people from underrepresented groups. To help build community among our people and support their professional development, we invest in our internal Meta Resource Groups and our annual Community events such as Women's
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Community Summit, Black Community Summit, Latin Community Summit, and Pride Community Summit. We also offer Managing Unconscious Bias, Managing Inclusion, Be the Ally, and other trainings to promote an inclusive workplace by helping people understand the issues that affect underrepresented communities and how to reduce the effects of bias in the workplace.

Compensation and Benefits

We offer competitive compensation to attract and retain the best people, and we help care for our people so they can focus on our mission. Our employees' total compensation package includes market-competitive salary, bonuses or sales incentives, and equity. We generally offer full-time employees equity at the time of hire and through annual equity grants because we want them to be owners of the company and committed to our long-term success. We have conducted pay equity analyses for many years, and continue to be committed to pay equity. In 2021, we announced that our analyses indicate that we continue to have pay equity across genders globally and race in the United States for people in similar jobs, accounting for factors such as location, role, and level.

Through Life@ Meta, our holistic approach to benefits, we provide our employees and their loved ones with resources to help them thrive. We offer a wide range of benefits across areas such as health, family, finance, community, and time away, including healthcare and wellness benefits, family building benefits, family care resources, retirement savings plans, access to tax and legal services, Meta Resource Groups to build community at Meta, family leave, and paid time off.

Corporate Information

We were incorporated in Delaware in July 2004. We completed our initial public offering in May 2012 and our Class A common stock is currently listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol "FB." In October 2021, we changed our corporate name from Facebook, Inc. to Meta Platforms, Inc. We expect our Class A common stock to cease trading under the symbol "FB" and begin trading under the new symbol, "META," on the Nasdaq Global Select Market in the first half of 2022. Our principal executive offices are located at 1601 Willow Road, Menlo Park, California 94025, and our telephone number is (650) 543-4800.

Meta, the Meta logo, Facebook, FB, Instagram, Oculus, WhatsApp, and our other registered or common law trademarks, service marks, or trade names appearing in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are the property of Meta Platforms, Inc. or its affiliates. Other trademarks, service marks, or trade names appearing in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K are the property of their respective owners.

Available Information

Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to reports filed pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (Exchange Act), are filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). We are subject to the informational requirements of the Exchange Act and file or furnish reports, proxy statements, and other information with the SEC. Such reports and other information filed by us with the SEC are available free of charge on our website at investor.fb.com when such reports are available on the SEC's website. We use our investor.fb.com and about.fb.com/news/ websites as well as Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/zuck) and Instagram account (www.instagram.com/zuck) as means of disclosing material non-public information and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD.

The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at www.sec.gov.

The contents of the websites referred to above are not incorporated into this filing. Further, our references to the URLs for these websites are intended to be inactive textual references only.
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Item 1A.Risk Factors

Certain factors may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. You should consider carefully the risks and uncertainties described below, in addition to other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including our consolidated financial statements and related notes. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties that we are unaware of, or that we currently believe are not material, may also become important factors that adversely affect our business. If any of the following risks actually occurs, our business, financial condition, results of operations, and future prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In that event, the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline, and you could lose part or all of your investment.

Summary Risk Factors

Our business is subject to a number of risks, including risks that may prevent us from achieving our business objectives or may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, and prospects. These risks are discussed more fully below and include, but are not limited to, risks related to:

Risks Related to Our Product Offerings

our ability to add and retain users and maintain levels of user engagement with our products;

the loss of, or reduction in spending by, our marketers;

reduced availability of data signals used by our ad targeting and measurement tools;

ineffective operation with mobile operating systems or changes in our relationships with mobile operating system partners;

failure of our new products, or changes to our existing products, to attract or retain users or generate revenue;

Risks Related to Our Business Operations and Financial Results

the COVID-19 pandemic, including its impact on our advertising business;

our ability to compete effectively;

unfavorable media coverage and other risks affecting our ability to maintain and enhance our brands;

volatile or slower user and revenue growth rates in the future;

acquisitions and our ability to successfully integrate our acquisitions;

our ability to build, maintain, and scale our technical infrastructure, and risks associated with disruptions in our service;

operating our business in multiple countries around the world;

litigation, including class action lawsuits;

Risks Related to Government Regulation and Enforcement

government restrictions on access to Facebook or our other products, or other actions that impair our ability to sell advertising, in their countries;

complex and evolving U.S. and foreign privacy, data use and data protection, content, competition, consumer protection, and other laws and regulations;
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the impact of government investigations, enforcement actions, and settlements, including litigation and investigations by privacy and competition authorities;

our ability to comply with regulatory and legislative privacy requirements, including our consent order with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC);

Risks Related to Data, Security, and Intellectual Property

the occurrence of security breaches, improper access to or disclosure of our data or user data, and other cyber incidents or undesirable activity on our platform;

our ability to obtain, maintain, protect, and enforce our intellectual property rights; and

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock

limitations on the ability of holders of our Class A Common Stock to influence corporate matters due to the dual class structure of our common stock and the control of a majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock by our founder, Chairman, and CEO.

Risks Related to Our Product Offerings

If we fail to retain existing users or add new users, or if our users decrease their level of engagement with our products, our revenue, financial results, and business may be significantly harmed.

The size of our user base and our users' level of engagement across our products are critical to our success. Our financial performance has been and will continue to be significantly determined by our success in adding, retaining, and engaging active users of our products that deliver ad impressions, particularly for Facebook and Instagram. We anticipate that our active user growth rate will continue to generally decline over time as the size of our active user base increases. In addition, we have experienced, and expect to continue to experience, fluctuations and declines in the size of our active user base in one or more markets from time to time, particularly in markets where we have achieved higher penetration rates. User growth and engagement are also impacted by a number of other factors, including competitive products and services, such as TikTok, that have reduced some users' engagement with our products and services, as well as global and regional business and macroeconomic conditions. For example, beginning in the first quarter of 2020, we experienced significant increases in the size and engagement of our active user base across a number of regions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. More recently, we have seen these pandemic-related trends subside. We are unable to predict the impact of the pandemic on user growth and engagement with any certainty, and these trends may continue to be subject to volatility. In the fourth quarter of 2021, we experienced a slight decline on a quarter-over-quarter basis in the total number of DAUs on Facebook, as well as a slight decline on a quarter-over-quarter basis in the number of DAUs on Facebook in the United States & Canada region. Any future declines in the size of our active user base may adversely impact our ability to deliver ad impressions and, in turn, our financial performance.

If people do not perceive our products to be useful, reliable, and trustworthy, we may not be able to attract or retain users or otherwise maintain or increase the frequency and duration of their engagement. A number of other social networking companies that achieved early popularity have since seen their active user bases or levels of engagement decline, in some cases precipitously. There is no guarantee that we will not experience a similar erosion of our active user base or engagement levels. Our user engagement patterns have changed over time, and user engagement can be difficult to measure, particularly as we introduce new and different products and services. Any number of factors can negatively affect user retention, growth, and engagement, including if:

users increasingly engage with other competitive products or services;

we fail to introduce new features, products, or services that users find engaging or if we introduce new products or services, or make changes to existing products and services, that are not favorably received;

users feel that their experience is diminished as a result of the decisions we make with respect to the frequency,
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prominence, format, size, and quality of ads that we display;

users have difficulty installing, updating, or otherwise accessing our products on mobile devices as a result of actions by us or third parties that we rely on to distribute our products and deliver our services;

user behavior on any of our products changes, including decreases in the quality and frequency of content shared on our products and services;

we are unable to continue to develop products for mobile devices that users find engaging, that work with a variety of mobile operating systems and networks, and that achieve a high level of market acceptance;

there are decreases in user sentiment due to questions about the quality or usefulness of our products or our user data practices, concerns about the nature of content made available on our products, or concerns related to privacy, safety, security, well-being, or other factors;

we are unable to manage and prioritize information to ensure users are presented with content that is appropriate, interesting, useful, and relevant to them;

we are unable to obtain or attract engaging third-party content;

we are unable to successfully maintain or grow usage of and engagement with mobile and web applications that integrate with our products;

users adopt new technologies where our products may be displaced in favor of other products or services, or may not be featured or otherwise available;

there are changes mandated by legislation, government and regulatory authorities, or litigation that adversely affect our products or users;

we are unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe, or are otherwise limited in our business operations, as a result of European regulators, courts, or legislative bodies determining that our reliance on Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) or other legal bases we rely upon to transfer user data from the European Union to the United States is invalid;

there is decreased engagement with our products, or failure to accept our terms of service, as part of privacy-focused changes that we have implemented or may implement in the future, whether voluntarily, in connection with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Union's ePrivacy Directive, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), or other laws, regulations, or regulatory actions, or otherwise;

technical or other problems prevent us from delivering our products in a rapid and reliable manner or otherwise affect the user experience, such as security breaches or failure to prevent or limit spam or similar content;

we adopt terms, policies, or procedures related to areas such as sharing, content, user data, or advertising, or we take, or fail to take, actions to enforce our policies, that are perceived negatively by our users or the general public, including as a result of decisions or recommendations from the independent Oversight Board regarding content on our platform;

we elect to focus our product decisions on longer-term initiatives that do not prioritize near-term user growth and engagement (for example, we have announced plans to focus product decisions on optimizing the young adult experience in the long term);

we make changes in how we promote different products and services across our family of products;

initiatives designed to attract and retain users and engagement are unsuccessful or discontinued, whether as a result of actions by us, third parties, or otherwise;

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third-party initiatives that may enable greater use of our products, including low-cost or discounted data plans, are scaled back or discontinued, or the pricing of data plans otherwise increases;

there is decreased engagement with our products as a result of taxes imposed on the use of social media or other mobile applications in certain countries, internet shutdowns, or other actions by governments that affect the accessibility of our products in their countries;

we fail to provide adequate customer service to users, marketers, developers, or other partners;

we, developers whose products are integrated with our products, or other partners and companies in our industry are the subject of adverse media reports or other negative publicity, including as a result of our or their user data practices; or

our current or future products, such as our development tools and application programming interfaces that enable developers to build, grow, and monetize mobile and web applications, reduce user activity on our products by making it easier for our users to interact and share on third-party mobile and web applications.

From time to time, certain of these factors have negatively affected user retention, growth, and engagement to varying degrees. If we are unable to maintain or increase our user base and user engagement, particularly for our significant revenue-generating products like Facebook and Instagram, our revenue and financial results may be adversely affected. Any significant decrease in user retention, growth, or engagement could render our products less attractive to users, marketers, and developers, which is likely to have a material and adverse impact on our ability to deliver ad impressions and, accordingly, our revenue, business, financial condition, and results of operations. As our active user growth rate continues to slow, we will become increasingly dependent on our ability to maintain or increase levels of user engagement and monetization in order to drive revenue growth.

We generate substantially all of our revenue from advertising. The loss of marketers, or reduction in spending by marketers, could seriously harm our business.

Substantially all of our revenue is currently generated from third parties advertising on Facebook and Instagram. As is common in the industry, our marketers do not have long-term advertising commitments with us. Many of our marketers spend only a relatively small portion of their overall advertising budget with us. Marketers will not continue to do business with us, or they will reduce the budgets they are willing to commit to us, if we do not deliver ads in an effective manner, if they do not believe that their investment in advertising with us will generate a competitive return relative to other alternatives, or if they are not satisfied for any other reason. We have implemented, and we will continue to implement, changes to our user data practices. Some of these changes reduce our ability to effectively target ads, which has to some extent adversely affected, and will continue to adversely affect, our advertising business. If we are unable to provide marketers with a suitable return on investment, the pricing of our ads may not increase, or may decline, in which case our revenue and financial results may be harmed.

Our advertising revenue can also be adversely affected by a number of other factors, including:

decreases in user engagement, including time spent on our products;

our inability to continue to increase user access to and engagement with our products;

product changes or inventory management decisions we may make that change the size, format, frequency, or relative prominence of ads displayed on our products or of other unpaid content shared by marketers on our products;

our inability to maintain or increase marketer demand, the pricing of our ads, or both;

our inability to maintain or increase the quantity or quality of ads shown to users;

changes to third-party policies that limit our ability to deliver, target, or measure the effectiveness of advertising, including changes by mobile operating system and browser providers such as Apple and Google;
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adverse government actions or legislative, regulatory, or other legal developments relating to advertising, including developments that may impact our ability to deliver, target, or measure the effectiveness of advertising;

user behavior or product changes that may reduce traffic to features or products that we successfully monetize, such as our feed and Stories products, including as a result of increased usage of our Reels or other video or messaging products;

reductions of advertising by marketers due to our efforts to implement or enforce advertising policies that protect the security and integrity of our platform;

the availability, accuracy, utility, and security of analytics and measurement solutions offered by us or third parties that demonstrate the value of our ads to marketers, or our ability to further improve such tools;

loss of advertising market share to our competitors, including if prices to purchase our ads increase or if competitors offer lower priced, more integrated, or otherwise more effective products;

limitations on our ability to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe as a result of European regulators, courts, or legislative bodies determining that our reliance on SCCs or other legal bases we rely upon to transfer user data from the European Union to the United States is invalid;

changes in our marketing and sales or other operations that we are required to or elect to make as a result of risks related to complying with foreign laws or regulatory requirements or other government actions;

decisions by marketers to reduce their advertising as a result of announcements by us or adverse media reports or other negative publicity involving us, our user data practices, our advertising metrics or tools, content on our products, our interpretation, implementation, or enforcement of policies relating to content on our products (including as a result of decisions or recommendations from the independent Oversight Board), developers with mobile and web applications that are integrated with our products, or other companies in our industry;

reductions of advertising by marketers due to objectionable content made available on our products by third parties, questions about our user data practices or the security of our platform, concerns about brand safety or potential legal liability, or uncertainty regarding their own legal and compliance obligations (for example, a number of marketers announced that they paused advertising with us in July 2020 due to concerns about content on our products);

the effectiveness of our ad targeting or degree to which users opt in or out of the use of data for ads, including as a result of product changes and controls that we have implemented or may implement in the future in connection with the GDPR, ePrivacy Directive, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), other laws, regulations, regulatory actions, or litigation, or otherwise, that impact our ability to use data for advertising purposes;

the degree to which users cease or reduce the number of times they engage with our ads;

changes in the way advertising on mobile devices or on personal computers is measured or priced;

the success of technologies designed to block the display of ads or ad measurement tools;

changes in the composition of our marketer base or our inability to maintain or grow our marketer base; and

the impact of macroeconomic and geopolitical conditions, whether in the advertising industry in general, or among specific types of marketers or within particular geographies.

From time to time, certain of these factors have adversely affected our advertising revenue to varying degrees. The occurrence of any of these or other factors in the future could result in a reduction in demand for our ads, which may reduce the prices we receive for our ads, or cause marketers to stop advertising with us altogether, either of which would negatively affect our revenue and financial results. For example, macroeconomic conditions have affected, and may in the future affect, marketers' ability or willingness to spend with us, as we experienced in 2020 with the regional and worldwide economic
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disruption related to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated declines in advertising activity on our products. The effects of the pandemic previously resulted in reduced demand for our ads, a related decline in pricing of our ads, and additional demands on our technical infrastructure as a result of increased usage of our services, and any similar occurrences in the future may impair our ability to maintain or increase the quantity or quality of ads shown to users and adversely affect our revenue and financial results.

Our advertising revenue is dependent on targeting and measurement tools that incorporate data signals from user activity on websites and services that we do not control, and changes to the regulatory environment, third-party mobile operating systems and browsers, and our own products have impacted, and we expect will continue to impact, the availability of such signals, which will adversely affect our advertising revenue.

We rely on data signals from user activity on websites and services that we do not control in order to deliver relevant and effective ads to our users. Our advertising revenue is dependent on targeting and measurement tools that incorporate these signals, and any changes in our ability to use such signals will adversely affect our business. For example, legislative and regulatory developments, such as the GDPR, ePrivacy Directive, and CCPA, have impacted, and we expect will continue to impact, our ability to use such signals in our ad products. In particular, we have seen an increasing number of users opt to control certain types of ad targeting in Europe following adoption of the GDPR, which will increase further with expanded control over certain third-party data as part of our ePrivacy Directive compliance, and we have introduced product changes that limit data signal use for certain users in California following adoption of the CCPA. Regulatory guidance or decisions or new legislation in these or other jurisdictions may require us to make additional changes to our products in the future that further reduce our ability to use these signals. In addition, mobile operating system and browser providers, such as Apple and Google, have implemented product changes and/or announced future plans to limit the ability of websites and application developers to collect and use these signals to target and measure advertising. For example, in 2021, Apple made certain changes to its products and data use policies in connection with changes to its iOS operating system that reduce our and other iOS developers' ability to target and measure advertising, which has negatively impacted, and we expect will continue to negatively impact, the size of the budgets marketers are willing to commit to us and other advertising platforms. In addition, we have implemented, and may continue to implement, product changes that give users the ability to limit our use of such data signals to improve ads and other experiences on our products and services, including our Off-Facebook Activity tool and our worldwide offering of certain product changes we implemented in connection with the GDPR. These developments have limited our ability to target and measure the effectiveness of ads on our platform and negatively impacted our advertising revenue. For example, our advertising revenue in the second half of 2021 was negatively impacted by marketer reaction to targeting and measurement challenges associated with iOS changes. If we are unable to mitigate these developments as they take further effect in the future, our targeting and measurement capabilities will be materially and adversely affected, which would in turn significantly impact our future advertising revenue growth.

Our user growth, engagement, and monetization on mobile devices depend upon effective operation with mobile operating systems, networks, technologies, products, and standards that we do not control.

The substantial majority of our revenue is generated from advertising on mobile devices. There is no guarantee that popular mobile devices will continue to feature our products, or that mobile device users will continue to use our products rather than competing products. We are dependent on the interoperability of our products with popular mobile operating systems, networks, technologies, products, and standards that we do not control, such as the Android and iOS operating systems and mobile browsers. Any changes, bugs, or technical issues in such systems, or changes in our relationships with mobile operating system partners, handset manufacturers, browser developers, or mobile carriers, or in their terms of service or policies that degrade our products' functionality, reduce or eliminate our ability to update or distribute our products, give preferential treatment to competitive products, limit our ability to deliver, target, or measure the effectiveness of ads, or charge fees related to the distribution of our products or our delivery of ads could adversely affect the usage of our products and monetization on mobile devices. For example, Apple previously released an update to its Safari browser that limits the use of third-party cookies, which reduces our ability to provide the most relevant ads to our users and impacts monetization, and also released changes to iOS that limit our ability to target and measure ads effectively. We expect that any similar changes to its, Google's, or other browser or mobile platforms will further limit our ability to target and measure the effectiveness of ads and impact monetization. Additionally, in order to deliver high quality mobile products, it is important that our products work well with a range of mobile technologies, products, systems, networks, and standards that we do not control, and that we have good relationships with handset manufacturers, mobile carriers, and browser developers. We may not be successful in maintaining or developing relationships with key participants in the mobile ecosystem or in developing products that operate effectively with these technologies, products, systems, networks, or standards. In the event that it is
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more difficult for our users to access and use our products on their mobile devices, or if our users choose not to access or use our products on their mobile devices or use mobile products that do not offer access to our products, our user growth and user engagement could be harmed. From time to time, we may also take actions regarding the distribution of our products or the operation of our business based on what we believe to be in our long-term best interests. Such actions may adversely affect our users and our relationships with the operators of mobile operating systems, handset manufacturers, mobile carriers, browser developers, other business partners, or advertisers, and there is no assurance that these actions will result in the anticipated long-term benefits. In the event that our users are adversely affected by these actions or if our relationships with such third parties deteriorate, our user growth, engagement, and monetization could be adversely affected and our business could be harmed. We have in the past experienced challenges in operating with mobile operating systems, networks, technologies, products, and standards that we do not control, and any such occurrences in the future may negatively impact our user growth, engagement, and monetization on mobile devices, which may in turn materially and adversely affect our business and financial results.

Our new products and changes to existing products could fail to attract or retain users or generate revenue and profits.

Our ability to retain, increase, and engage our user base and to increase our revenue depends heavily on our ability to continue to evolve our existing products and to create successful new products, both independently and in conjunction with developers or other third parties. We may introduce significant changes to our existing products or acquire or introduce new and unproven products, including using technologies with which we have little or no prior development or operating experience. For example, we do not have significant experience with consumer hardware products or virtual or augmented reality technology, which may adversely affect our ability to successfully develop and market these products and technologies. We continue to incur substantial costs, and we may not be successful in generating profits, in connection with these efforts. In addition, the introduction of new products, or changes to existing products, may result in new or enhanced governmental or regulatory scrutiny, litigation, or other complications that could adversely affect our business and financial results. We have also invested, and expect to continue to invest, significant resources in growing our WhatsApp and Messenger products to support increasing usage of such products. We have historically monetized messaging in only a limited fashion, and we may not be successful in our efforts to generate meaningful revenue or profits from messaging over the long term. In addition, we are moving forward with plans to implement end-to-end encryption across our messaging services, as well as facilitate cross-app communication between these platforms, which plans have drawn governmental and regulatory scrutiny in multiple jurisdictions. If our new or enhanced products fail to engage users, marketers, or developers, or if our business plans are unsuccessful, we may fail to attract or retain users or to generate sufficient revenue, operating margin, or other value to justify our investments, and our business may be adversely affected.

We make product and investment decisions that may not prioritize short-term financial results and may not produce the long-term benefits that we expect.

We frequently make product and investment decisions that may not prioritize short-term financial results if we believe that the decisions are consistent with our mission and benefit the aggregate user experience and will thereby improve our financial performance over the long term. For example, we have implemented, and we will continue to implement, changes to our user data practices. Some of these changes reduce our ability to effectively target ads, which has to some extent adversely affected, and will continue to adversely affect, our advertising business. For example, our Off-Facebook Activity tool enables users to place limits on our storage and use of information about their interactions with advertisers' apps and websites, which reduces our ability to deliver the most relevant and effective ads to our users. Similarly, from time to time we update our News Feed ranking algorithm to optimize the user experience, and these changes have had, and may in the future have, the effect of reducing time spent and some measures of user engagement with Facebook, which could adversely affect our financial results. From time to time, we also change the size, frequency, or relative prominence of ads as part of our product and monetization strategies. In addition, we have made, and we expect to continue to make, other changes to our products which may adversely affect the distribution of content of publishers, marketers, and developers, and could reduce their incentive to invest in their efforts on our products. We also may introduce new features or other changes to existing products, or introduce new stand-alone products, that attract users away from properties, formats, or use cases where we have more proven means of monetization, such as our feed products. In addition, as we focus on growing users and engagement across our family of products, from time to time these efforts have reduced, and may in the future reduce, engagement with one or more products and services in favor of other products or services that we monetize less successfully or that are not growing as quickly. For example, we plan to continue to promote Reels, which we do not currently monetize at the same rate as our feed or Stories products. These decisions may adversely affect our business and results of operations and may not produce the long-term benefits that we expect.
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We may not be successful in our metaverse strategy and investments, which could adversely affect our business, reputation, or financial results.

We believe the metaverse, an embodied internet where people have immersive experiences beyond two-dimensional screens, is the next evolution in social technology. In 2021, we announced a shift in our business and product strategy to focus on helping to bring the metaverse to life. We expect this will be a complex, evolving, and long-term initiative that will involve the development of new and emerging technologies, continued investment in privacy, safety, and security efforts, and collaboration with other companies, developers, partners, and other participants. However, the metaverse may not develop in accordance with our expectations, and market acceptance of features, products, or services we build for the metaverse is uncertain. In addition, we have limited experience with consumer hardware products and virtual and augmented reality technology, which may enable other companies to compete more effectively than us. We may be unsuccessful in our research and product development efforts, including if we are unable to develop relationships with key participants in the metaverse or develop products that operate effectively with metaverse technologies, products, systems, networks, or standards. Our metaverse efforts may also divert resources and management attention from other areas of our business. We expect to continue to make significant investments in virtual and augmented reality and other technologies to support these efforts, and our ability to support these efforts is dependent on generating sufficient profits from other areas of our business. In addition, as our metaverse efforts evolve, we may be subject to a variety of existing or new laws and regulations in the United States and international jurisdictions, including in the areas of privacy and e-commerce, which may delay or impede the development of our products and services, increase our operating costs, require significant management time and attention, or otherwise harm our business. As a result of these or other factors, our metaverse strategy and investments may not be successful in the foreseeable future, or at all, which could adversely affect our business, reputation, or financial results.

If we are not able to maintain and enhance our brands, our ability to expand our base of users, marketers, and developers may be impaired, and our business and financial results may be harmed.

We believe that our brands have significantly contributed to the success of our business. We also believe that maintaining and enhancing our brands is critical to expanding our base of users, marketers, and developers. Many of our new users are referred by existing users. Maintaining and enhancing our brands will depend largely on our ability to continue to provide useful, reliable, trustworthy, and innovative products, which we may not do successfully. We may introduce new products or terms of service or policies that users do not like, which may negatively affect our brands. Additionally, the actions of our developers or advertisers may affect our brands if users do not have a positive experience using third-party mobile and web applications integrated with our products or interacting with parties that advertise through our products. We will also continue to experience media, legislative, or regulatory scrutiny of our actions or decisions regarding user privacy, data use, encryption, content, product design, algorithms, advertising, competition, and other issues, including actions or decisions in connection with elections or the COVID-19 pandemic, which has in the past adversely affected, and may in the future adversely affect, our reputation and brands. For example, beginning in September 2021, we became the subject of media, legislative, and regulatory scrutiny as a result of a former employee's allegations and release of internal company documents relating to, among other things, our algorithms, advertising and user metrics, and content enforcement practices, as well as misinformation and other undesirable activity on our platform, and user well-being. In addition, in March 2018, we announced developments regarding the misuse of certain data by a developer that shared such data with third parties in violation of our terms and policies. We also may fail to respond expeditiously or appropriately to the sharing of objectionable content on our services or objectionable practices by advertisers or developers, or to otherwise enforce our policies or address user concerns, which has occurred in the past and which could erode confidence in our brands. Our brands may also be negatively affected by the actions of users that are deemed to be hostile or inappropriate to other users, by the actions of users acting under false or inauthentic identities, by the use of our products or services to disseminate information that is deemed to be misleading (or intended to manipulate opinions), by perceived or actual efforts by governments to obtain access to user information for security-related purposes or to censor certain content on our platform, by the use of our products or services for illicit or objectionable ends, including, for example, any such actions around the pandemic or elections in the United States and around the world, by decisions or recommendations regarding content on our platform from the independent Oversight Board, by research or media reports concerning the perceived or actual impacts of our products or services on user well-being, or by our decisions to remove content or suspend participation on our platform by persons who violate our community standards or terms of service. Maintaining and enhancing our brands will require us to make substantial investments and these investments may not be successful. Certain of our actions, such as the foregoing matter regarding developer misuse of data and concerns around our handling of political speech and advertising, hate speech, and other content, as well as user well-being issues, have eroded confidence in our brands and may continue to do so in the future. If we
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fail to successfully promote and maintain our brands or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our business and financial results may be adversely affected.

We may not be able to continue to successfully maintain or grow usage of and engagement with mobile and web applications that integrate with Facebook and our other products.

We have made and are continuing to make investments to enable developers to build, grow, and monetize mobile and web applications that integrate with Facebook and our other products. Such existing and prospective developers may not be successful in building, growing, or monetizing mobile and/or web applications that create and maintain user engagement. Additionally, developers may choose to build on other platforms, including mobile platforms controlled by third parties, rather than building products that integrate with Facebook and our other products. We are continuously seeking to balance the distribution objectives of our developers with our desire to provide an optimal user experience, and we may not be successful in achieving a balance that continues to attract and retain such developers. For example, from time to time, we have taken actions to reduce the volume of communications from these developers to users on Facebook and our other products with the objective of enhancing the user experience, and such actions have reduced distribution from, user engagement with, and our monetization opportunities from, mobile and web applications integrated with our products. In addition, as part of our efforts related to privacy, safety, and security, we conduct investigations and audits of platform applications from time to time, and we also have announced several product changes that restrict developer access to certain user data. In some instances, these actions, as well as other actions to enforce our policies applicable to developers, have adversely affected, or will adversely affect, our relationships with developers. If we are not successful in our efforts to maintain or grow the number of developers that choose to build products that integrate with Facebook and our other products or if we are unable to continue to build and maintain good relations with such developers, our user growth and user engagement and our financial results may be adversely affected.

Risks Related to Our Business Operations and Financial Results

The COVID-19 pandemic has previously had, and may in the future have, a significant adverse impact on our advertising revenue and also exposes our business to other risks.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in authorities implementing numerous preventative measures from time to time to contain or mitigate the outbreak of the virus, such as travel bans and restrictions, limitations on business activity, quarantines, and shelter-in-place orders. These measures have caused, and are continuing to cause, business slowdowns or shutdowns in certain affected countries and regions, which have previously significantly impacted our business and results of operations. For example, in the second quarter of 2020, our advertising revenue grew 10% year-over-year, which was the slowest growth rate for any fiscal quarter since our initial public offering. While our advertising revenue growth rate improved in subsequent quarters, there can be no assurance that it will not decrease again as a result of the effects of the pandemic. In addition, we believe that the pandemic previously contributed to an acceleration in the growth of online commerce, which in turn increased demand for our advertising services. More recently, we believe this growth has moderated in many regions, and we may experience reduced advertising demand and related declines in pricing in future periods to the extent this trend continues, which could adversely affect our advertising revenue growth. The demand for and pricing of our advertising services may be materially and adversely impacted by the pandemic for the foreseeable future, and we are unable to predict the duration or degree of such impact with any certainty. In addition to the impact on our advertising business, the pandemic exposes our business, operations, and workforce to a variety of other risks, including:

volatility in the size of our user base and user engagement, particularly for our messaging products, whether as a result of shelter-in-place measures or other factors;

delays in product development or releases, or reductions in manufacturing production and sales of consumer hardware, as a result of inventory shortages, supply chain or labor shortages;

increased misuse of our products and services or user data by third parties, including improper advertising practices or other activity inconsistent with our terms, contracts, or policies, misinformation or other illicit or objectionable material on our platforms, election interference, or other undesirable activity; 

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adverse impacts to our efforts to combat misuse of our products and services and user data as a result of limitations on our safety, security, and content review efforts while our workforce is working remotely, such as the necessity to rely more heavily on artificial intelligence to perform tasks that our workforce is unable to perform;
 
significant volatility and disruption of global financial markets, which could cause fluctuations in currency exchange rates or negatively impact our ability to access capital in the future;

negative impact on our workforce productivity, product development, and research and development due to difficulties resulting from our personnel working remotely; 

illnesses to key employees, or a significant portion of our workforce, which may result in inefficiencies, delays, and disruptions in our business; and

increased volatility and uncertainty in the financial projections we use as the basis for estimates used in our financial statements.

Any of these developments may adversely affect our business, harm our reputation, or result in legal or regulatory actions against us. The persistence of COVID-19, and the preventative measures implemented to help limit the spread of the illness, have impacted, and will continue to impact, our ability to operate our business and may materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Our business is highly competitive. Competition presents an ongoing threat to the success of our business.

We compete with companies providing connection, sharing, discovery, and communication products and services to users online, as well as companies that sell advertising to businesses looking to reach consumers and/or develop tools and systems for managing and optimizing advertising campaigns. We face significant competition in every aspect of our business, including, but not limited to, companies that facilitate the ability of users to share, communicate, and discover content and information online or enable marketers to reach their existing or prospective audiences, including, for example, Alphabet (Google and YouTube), Amazon, Apple, ByteDance (TikTok), Microsoft, Snap (Snapchat), Tencent (WeChat), and Twitter. We compete to attract, engage, and retain people who use our products, to attract and retain businesses that use our free or paid business and advertising services, and to attract and retain developers who build compelling mobile and web applications that integrate with our products. We also compete with companies that develop and deliver consumer hardware and virtual and augmented reality products and services. As we introduce or acquire new products, as our existing products evolve, or as other companies introduce new products and services, including as part of efforts to develop the metaverse, we may become subject to additional competition.

Some of our current and potential competitors may have greater resources, experience, or stronger competitive positions in certain product segments, geographic regions, or user demographics than we do. For example, some of our competitors may be domiciled in different countries and subject to political, legal, and regulatory regimes that enable them to compete more effectively than us. These factors may allow our competitors to respond more effectively than us to new or emerging technologies and changes in market conditions. We believe that some users, particularly younger users, are aware of and actively engaging with other products and services similar to, or as a substitute for, our products and services, and we believe that some users have reduced their use of and engagement with our products and services in favor of these other products and services. In the event that users increasingly engage with other products and services, we may experience a decline in use and engagement in key user demographics or more broadly, in which case our business would likely be harmed.

Our competitors may develop products, features, or services that are similar to ours or that achieve greater acceptance, may undertake more far-reaching and successful product development efforts or marketing campaigns, or may adopt more aggressive pricing policies. Some competitors may gain a competitive advantage against us in areas where we operate, including: by making acquisitions; by limiting our ability to deliver, target, or measure the effectiveness of ads; by imposing fees or other charges related to our delivery of ads; by making access to our products more difficult or impossible; by making it more difficult to communicate with our users; or by integrating competing platforms, applications, or features into products they control such as mobile device operating systems, search engines, browsers, or e-commerce platforms. For example, each of Apple and Google have integrated competitive products with iOS and Android, respectively. In addition, Apple has released changes to iOS that limit our ability, and the ability of others in the digital advertising industry, to target and
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measure ads effectively. As a result, our competitors may, and in some cases will, acquire and engage users or generate advertising or other revenue at the expense of our own efforts, which would negatively affect our business and financial results. In addition, from time to time, we may take actions in response to competitive threats, but we cannot assure you that these actions will be successful or that they will not negatively affect our business and financial results.

We believe that our ability to compete effectively depends upon many factors both within and beyond our control, including:

the popularity, usefulness, ease of use, performance, and reliability of our products compared to our competitors' products;

the size and composition of our user base;

the engagement of users with our products and competing products;

our ability to attract and retain businesses who use our free or paid business and advertising services;

the timing and market acceptance of products, including developments and enhancements to our or our competitors' products;

our safety and security efforts and our ability to protect user data and to provide users with control over their data;

our ability to distribute our products to new and existing users;

our ability to monetize our products;

the frequency, size, format, quality, and relative prominence of the ads displayed by us or our competitors;

customer service and support efforts;

marketing and selling efforts, including our ability to measure the effectiveness of our ads and to provide marketers with a compelling return on their investments;

our ability to establish and maintain developers' interest in building mobile and web applications that integrate with Facebook and our other products;

our ability to establish and maintain publisher interest in integrating their content with Facebook and our other products;

changes mandated by legislation, regulatory authorities, or litigation, some of which may have a disproportionate effect on us;

acquisitions or consolidation within our industry, which may result in more formidable competitors;

our ability to attract, retain, and motivate talented employees, particularly software engineers, designers, and product managers;

our ability to cost-effectively manage and grow our operations; and

our reputation and brand strength relative to those of our competitors.

If we are not able to compete effectively, our user base, level of user engagement, and ability to deliver ad impressions may decrease, we may become less attractive to developers and marketers, and our revenue and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

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Unfavorable media coverage negatively affects our business from time to time.

We receive a high degree of media coverage around the world. Unfavorable publicity regarding, for example, our privacy practices, advertising policies, product changes, product quality, litigation or regulatory activity, government surveillance, the actions of our advertisers, the actions of our developers whose products are integrated with our products, the use of our products or services for illicit or objectionable ends, the substance or enforcement of our community standards, terms of service, or other policies, the actions of our users, the quality and integrity of content shared on our platform, the perceived or actual impacts of our products or services on user well-being, or the actions of other companies that provide similar services to ours, has in the past, and could in the future, adversely affect our reputation. For example, we have been the subject of significant media coverage involving concerns around our handling of political speech and advertising, hate speech, and other content, as well as user well-being issues, and we continue to receive negative publicity related to these topics. Beginning in September 2021, we became the subject of significant media coverage as a result of allegations and the release of internal company documents by a former employee. In addition, we have been, and may in the future be, subject to negative publicity in connection with our handling of misinformation and other illicit or objectionable use of our products or services, including in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and elections in the United States and around the world. Any such negative publicity could have an adverse effect on the size, engagement, and loyalty of our user base and marketer demand for advertising on our products, which could result in decreased revenue and adversely affect our business and financial results, and we have experienced such adverse effects to varying degrees from time to time.

Our financial results will fluctuate from quarter to quarter and are difficult to predict.

Our quarterly financial results have fluctuated in the past and will fluctuate in the future. Additionally, we have a limited operating history with the current scale of our business, which makes it difficult to forecast our future results. As a result, you should not rely upon our past quarterly financial results as indicators of future performance. You should take into account the risks and uncertainties frequently encountered by companies in rapidly evolving markets. Our financial results in any given quarter can be influenced by numerous factors, many of which we are unable to predict or are outside of our control, including:

our ability to maintain and grow our user base and user engagement, particularly for our products that deliver ad impressions;

our ability to attract and retain marketers in a particular period;

our ability to recognize revenue or collect payments from marketers in a particular period, including as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic;

fluctuations in spending by our marketers due to seasonality, such as historically strong spending in the fourth quarter of each year, episodic regional or global events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, or other factors;

the frequency, prominence, size, format, and quality of ads shown to users;

the success of technologies designed to block the display of ads;

changes to third-party policies that limit our ability to deliver, target, or measure the effectiveness of advertising, including changes by mobile operating system and browser providers such as Apple and Google;

the pricing of our ads and other products;

the diversification and growth of revenue sources beyond advertising on Facebook and Instagram;

our ability to generate revenue from Payments, or the sale of our consumer hardware products or other products we may introduce in the future;

changes to existing products or services or the development and introduction of new products or services by us or our competitors;

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user behavior or product changes that may reduce traffic to features or products that we successfully monetize;

increases in marketing, sales, and other operating expenses that we will incur to grow and expand our operations and to remain competitive, including costs related to our data centers and technical infrastructure;

costs related to our privacy, safety, security, and content review efforts, including as a result of implementing changes to our practices, whether voluntarily, in connection with laws, regulations, regulatory actions, or decisions or recommendations from the independent Oversight Board, or otherwise;

costs and expenses related to the development, manufacturing, and delivery of our consumer hardware products;

our ability to maintain gross margins and operating margins;

costs related to acquisitions, including costs associated with amortization and additional investments to develop the acquired technologies;

charges associated with impairment of any assets on our balance sheet;

our ability to obtain equipment, components, and labor for our data centers and other technical infrastructure in a timely and cost-effective manner;

system failures or outages or government blocking, which could prevent us from serving ads for any period of time;

breaches of security or privacy, and the costs associated with any such breaches and remediation;

changes in the manner in which we distribute our products or inaccessibility of our products due to third-party actions;

fees paid to third parties for content or the distribution of our products;

refunds or other concessions provided to advertisers;

share-based compensation expense, including acquisition-related expense;

adverse litigation judgments, settlements, or other litigation-related costs;

changes in the legislative or regulatory environment, including with respect to privacy, data protection, and content, or actions by governments or regulators, including fines, orders, or consent decrees;

the overall tax rate for our business, which is affected by the mix of income we earn in the U.S. and in jurisdictions with different tax rates, the effects of share-based compensation, the effects of integrating intellectual property from acquisitions, the effects of changes in our business or structure, and the effects of discrete items such as legal and tax settlements and tax elections;

the impact of changes in tax laws or judicial or regulatory interpretations of tax laws, which are recorded in the period such laws are enacted or interpretations are issued, and may significantly affect the effective tax rate of that period;

tax obligations that may arise from resolutions of tax examinations, including the examination we are currently under by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), that materially differ from the amounts we have anticipated;

fluctuations in currency exchange rates and changes in the proportion of our revenue and expenses denominated in foreign currencies;

trading activity in our share repurchase program;

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fluctuations in the market values of our investments in marketable securities, in the valuation of our equity investments, and in interest rates;

changes in U.S. generally accepted accounting principles; and

changes in regional or global business or macroeconomic conditions, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may impact the other factors described above.

Our rates of growth may be volatile in the near term as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we expect they will decline over time in the future.

We have in the past experienced, and may in the future experience, volatility in our user and revenue growth rates as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, although we are unable to predict the duration or degree of such volatility with any certainty. In the long term, we expect that our user growth rate will generally decline over time as the size of our active user base increases, and the size of our active user base may fluctuate or decline in one or more markets, particularly as we achieve greater market penetration. We also expect our revenue growth rate will continue to decline over time as our revenue increases to higher levels. As our growth rates experience volatility or decline, investors' perceptions of our business may be adversely affected and the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline.

Our costs are continuing to grow, and some of our investments, particularly our investments in virtual and augmented reality, have the effect of reducing our operating margin and profitability. If our investments are not successful longer-term, our business and financial performance will be harmed.

Operating our business is costly, and we expect our expenses to continue to increase in the future as we broaden our user base, as users increase the amount and types of content they consume and the data they share with us, for example with respect to video, as we develop and implement new products, as we market new and existing products and promote our brands, as we continue to expand our technical infrastructure, as we continue to invest in new and unproven technologies, and as we continue to hire additional employees and contractors to support our expanding operations, including our efforts to focus on privacy, safety, security, and content review. In addition, from time to time we are subject to settlements, judgments, fines, or other monetary penalties in connection with legal and regulatory developments that may be material to our business. We are also continuing to increase our investments in new platforms and technologies, including as we continue our efforts related to building the metaverse. Some of these investments, particularly our significant investments in virtual and augmented reality, have generated only limited revenue and reduced our operating margin and profitability, and we expect the adverse financial impact of such investments to continue for the foreseeable future. For example, our investments in Reality Labs reduced our 2021 overall operating profit by approximately $10 billion, and we expect our investments to increase in future periods. If our investments are not successful longer-term, our business and financial performance will be harmed.

We plan to continue to make acquisitions and pursue other strategic transactions, which could impact our financial condition or results of operations and may adversely affect the price of our common stock.

As part of our business strategy, we have made and intend to continue to make acquisitions to add specialized employees and complementary companies, products, or technologies, and from time to time may enter into other strategic transactions such as investments and joint ventures. We may not be able to find suitable acquisition candidates, and we may not be able to complete acquisitions or other strategic transactions on favorable terms, or at all, including as a result of regulatory challenges. For example, in 2021, the United Kingdom Competition and Markets Authority issued an order directing us to divest our Giphy acquisition, which we have appealed. In some cases, the costs of such acquisitions or other strategic transactions may be substantial, and there is no assurance that we will realize expected synergies from future growth and potential monetization opportunities for our acquisitions or a favorable return on investment for our strategic investments.

We may pay substantial amounts of cash or incur debt to pay for acquisitions or other strategic transactions, which has occurred in the past and could adversely affect our liquidity. The incurrence of indebtedness would also result in increased fixed obligations and increased interest expense, and could also include covenants or other restrictions that would impede our ability to manage our operations. We may also issue equity securities to pay for acquisitions and we regularly grant RSUs to retain the employees of acquired companies, which could increase our expenses, adversely affect our financial results, and
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result in dilution to our stockholders. In addition, any acquisitions or other strategic transactions we announce could be viewed negatively by users, marketers, developers, or investors, which may adversely affect our business or the price of our Class A common stock.

We may also discover liabilities, deficiencies, or other claims associated with the companies or assets we acquire that were not identified in advance, which may result in significant unanticipated costs. The effectiveness of our due diligence review and our ability to evaluate the results of such due diligence are dependent upon the accuracy and completeness of statements and disclosures made or actions taken by the companies we acquire or their representatives, as well as the limited amount of time in which acquisitions are executed. In addition, we may fail to accurately forecast the financial impact of an acquisition or other strategic transaction, including tax and accounting charges. Acquisitions or other strategic transactions may also result in our recording of significant additional expenses to our results of operations and recording of substantial finite-lived intangible assets on our balance sheet upon closing. Any of these factors may adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations.

We may not be able to successfully integrate our acquisitions, and we incur significant costs to integrate and support the companies we acquire.

The integration of acquisitions requires significant time and resources, particularly with respect to companies that have significant operations or that develop products where we do not have prior experience, and we may not manage these processes successfully. We continue to make substantial investments of resources to support our acquisitions, which has in the past resulted, and we expect will in the future result, in significant ongoing operating expenses and the diversion of resources and management attention from other areas of our business. We cannot assure you that these investments will be successful. If we fail to successfully integrate the companies we acquire, we may not realize the benefits expected from the transaction and our business may be harmed.

Our business is dependent on our ability to maintain and scale our technical infrastructure, and any significant disruption in our service, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, could damage our reputation, result in a potential loss of users and engagement, and adversely affect our financial results.

Our reputation and ability to attract, retain, and serve our users is dependent upon the reliable performance of our products and our underlying technical infrastructure. We have in the past experienced, and may in the future experience, interruptions in the availability or performance of our products from time to time. Our systems may not be adequately designed or may not operate with the reliability and redundancy necessary to avoid performance delays or outages that could be harmful to our business. If our products are unavailable when users attempt to access them, or if they do not load as quickly as expected, users may not use our products as often in the future, or at all, and our ability to serve ads may be disrupted, any of which could adversely affect our business and financial performance. We have experienced such issues to varying degrees from time to time. For example, in October 2021, a combination of an error and a bug resulted in an approximately six-hour outage of our services. In addition, as the amount and types of information shared on our products continue to grow and evolve, as the usage patterns of our global community continue to evolve, and as our internal operational demands continue to grow, we will need an increasing amount of technical infrastructure, including network capacity and computing power, to continue to satisfy our needs. It is possible that we may fail to continue to effectively scale and grow our technical infrastructure to accommodate these increased demands, which may adversely affect our user engagement and advertising revenue growth. In addition, our business may be subject to interruptions, delays, or failures resulting from earthquakes, adverse weather conditions, other natural disasters, power loss, terrorism, geopolitical conflict, other physical security threats, cyber-attacks, or other catastrophic events. Global climate change could result in certain types of natural disasters occurring more frequently or with more intense effects. Any such events may result in users being subject to service disruptions or outages and we may not be able to recover our technical infrastructure and user data in a timely manner to restart or provide our services, which may adversely affect our financial results. We also have been, and may in the future be, subject to increased energy or other costs to maintain the availability or performance of our products in connection with any such events.

In 2020, the increase in the use of our products as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic increased demands on our technical infrastructure. We may not be able to accommodate any such demands in the future, including as a result of our reduced data center operations and personnel working remotely during the pandemic.

A substantial portion of our network infrastructure is provided by third parties. Any disruption or failure in the services
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we receive from these providers could harm our ability to handle existing or increased traffic and could significantly harm our business. Any financial or other difficulties these providers face may adversely affect our business, and we exercise little control over these providers, which increases our vulnerability to problems with the services they provide. Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced, and expect to continue to experience, supply and labor shortages and other disruptions in logistics and the supply chain for our technical infrastructure. As a result, we have had to make certain changes to our procurement practices, and in the future we may not be able to procure sufficient components, equipment, or services from third parties to satisfy our needs, or we may be required to procure such components, equipment, or services on unfavorable terms.
Any of these developments may result in interruptions in the availability or performance of our products, require unfavorable changes to existing products, delay the introduction of future products, or otherwise adversely affect our business and financial results.

We could experience unforeseen difficulties in building and operating key portions of our technical infrastructure.

We have designed and built our own data centers and key portions of our technical infrastructure through which we serve our products, and we plan to continue to significantly expand the size of our infrastructure primarily through data centers, subsea and terrestrial fiber optic cable systems, and other projects. The infrastructure expansion we are undertaking is complex and involves projects in multiple locations around the world, including in emerging markets that expose us to increased risks relating to anti-corruption compliance and political challenges, among others. We have in the past suspended, and may in the future suspend, certain of these projects as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional unanticipated delays or disruptions in the completion of these projects, including due to any shortage of labor necessary in building portions of such projects, or availability of components, challenges in obtaining required government or regulatory approvals, or other geopolitical challenges or actions by governments, whether as a result of the pandemic, trade disputes, or otherwise, may lead to increased project costs, operational inefficiencies, interruptions in the delivery or degradation of the quality or reliability of our products, or impairment of assets on our balance sheet. In addition, there may be issues related to this infrastructure that are not identified during the testing phases of design and implementation, which may only become evident after we have started to fully utilize the underlying equipment, that could further degrade the user experience or increase our costs. Further, much of our technical infrastructure is located outside the United States, and it is possible that action by a foreign government, or our response to such government action, could result in the impairment of a portion of our technical infrastructure, which may interrupt the delivery or degrade the quality or reliability of our products and lead to a negative user experience or increase our costs. Any of these events could adversely affect our business, reputation, or financial results.

Real or perceived inaccuracies in our community and other metrics may harm our reputation and negatively affect our business.

The numbers for our key metrics, which include our Family metrics (DAP, MAP, and average revenue per person (ARPP)) and Facebook metrics (DAUs, MAUs, and average revenue per user (ARPU)), are calculated using internal company data based on the activity of user accounts. While these numbers are based on what we believe to be reasonable estimates of our user base for the applicable period of measurement, there are inherent challenges in measuring usage of our products across large online and mobile populations around the world. The methodologies used to measure these metrics require significant judgment and are also susceptible to algorithm or other technical errors. In addition, we are continually seeking to improve our estimates of our user base, and such estimates may change due to improvements or changes in our methodology. We regularly review our processes for calculating these metrics, and from time to time we discover inaccuracies in our metrics or make adjustments to improve their accuracy, which can result in adjustments to our historical metrics. Our ability to recalculate our historical metrics may be impacted by data limitations or other factors that require us to apply different methodologies for such adjustments. We generally do not intend to update previously disclosed Family metrics for any such inaccuracies or adjustments that are within the error margins disclosed below.

In addition, our Family metrics and Facebook metrics estimates will differ from estimates published by third parties due to differences in methodology.

Many people in our community have user accounts on more than one of our products, and some people have multiple user accounts within an individual product. Accordingly, for our Family metrics, we do not seek to count the total number of user accounts across our products because we believe that would not reflect the actual size of our community. Rather, our Family metrics represent our estimates of the number of unique people using at least one of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger,
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and WhatsApp. We do not require people to use a common identifier or link their accounts to use multiple products in our Family, and therefore must seek to attribute multiple user accounts within and across products to individual people. To calculate these metrics, we rely upon complex techniques, algorithms and machine learning models that seek to count the individual people behind user accounts, including by matching multiple user accounts within an individual product and across multiple products when we believe they are attributable to a single person, and counting such group of accounts as one person. These techniques and models require significant judgment, are subject to data and other limitations discussed below, and inherently are subject to statistical variances and uncertainties. We estimate the potential error in our Family metrics primarily based on user survey data, which itself is subject to error as well. While we expect the error margin for our Family metrics to vary from period to period, we estimate that such margin generally will be approximately 3% of our worldwide MAP. At our scale, it is very difficult to attribute multiple user accounts within and across products to individual people, and it is possible that the actual numbers of unique people using our products may vary significantly from our estimates, potentially beyond our estimated error margins. As a result, it is also possible that our Family metrics may indicate changes or trends in user numbers that do not match actual changes or trends.

To calculate our estimates of Family DAP and MAP, we currently use a series of machine learning models that are developed based on internal reviews of limited samples of user accounts and calibrated against user survey data. We apply significant judgment in designing these models and calculating these estimates. For example, to match user accounts within individual products and across multiple products, we use data signals such as similar device information, IP addresses, and user names. We also calibrate our models against data from periodic user surveys of varying sizes and frequency across our products, which are inherently subject to error. The timing and results of such user surveys have in the past contributed, and may in the future contribute, to changes in our reported Family metrics from period to period. In addition, our data limitations may affect our understanding of certain details of our business and increase the risk of error for our Family metrics estimates. Our techniques and models rely on a variety of data signals from different products, and we rely on more limited data signals for some products compared to others. For example, as a result of limited visibility into encrypted products, we have fewer data signals from WhatsApp user accounts and primarily rely on phone numbers and device information to match WhatsApp user accounts with accounts on our other products. Similarly, although Messenger Kids users are included in our Family metrics, we do not seek to match their accounts with accounts on our other applications for purposes of calculating DAP and MAP. Any loss of access to data signals we use in our process for calculating Family metrics, whether as a result of our own product decisions, actions by third-party browser or mobile platforms, regulatory or legislative requirements, limitations while our personnel work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, or other factors, also may impact the stability or accuracy of our reported Family metrics, as well as our ability to report these metrics at all. Our estimates of Family metrics also may change as our methodologies evolve, including through the application of new data signals or technologies, product changes, or other improvements in our user surveys, algorithms, or machine learning that may improve our ability to match accounts within and across our products or otherwise evaluate the broad population of our users. In addition, such evolution may allow us to identify previously undetected violating accounts (as defined below).

We regularly evaluate our Family metrics to estimate the percentage of our MAP consisting solely of "violating" accounts. We define "violating" accounts as accounts which we believe are intended to be used for purposes that violate our terms of service, including bots and spam. In the fourth quarter of 2021, we estimated that approximately 3% of our worldwide MAP consisted solely of violating accounts. Such estimation is based on an internal review of a limited sample of accounts, and we apply significant judgment in making this determination. For example, we look for account information and behaviors associated with Facebook and Instagram accounts that appear to be inauthentic to the reviewers, but we have limited visibility into WhatsApp user activity due to encryption. In addition, if we believe an individual person has one or more violating accounts, we do not include such person in our violating accounts estimation as long as we believe they have one account that does not constitute a violating account. From time to time, we disable certain user accounts, make product changes, or take other actions to reduce the number of violating accounts among our users, which may also reduce our DAP and MAP estimates in a particular period. We intend to disclose our estimates of the percentage of our MAP consisting solely of violating accounts on an annual basis. Violating accounts are very difficult to measure at our scale, and it is possible that the actual number of violating accounts may vary significantly from our estimates.

We also regularly evaluate our Facebook metrics to estimate the number of "duplicate" and "false" accounts among our MAUs. A duplicate account is one that a user maintains in addition to his or her principal account. We divide "false" accounts into two categories: (1) user-misclassified accounts, where users have created personal profiles for a business, organization, or non-human entity such as a pet (such entities are permitted on Facebook using a Page rather than a personal profile under our terms of service); and (2) violating accounts, which represent user profiles that we believe are intended to be used for purposes that violate our terms of service, such as bots and spam. The estimates of duplicate and false accounts
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are based on an internal review of a limited sample of accounts, and we apply significant judgment in making this determination. For example, to identify duplicate accounts we use data signals such as identical IP addresses and similar user names, and to identify false accounts we look for names that appear to be fake or other behavior that appears inauthentic to the reviewers. Any loss of access to data signals we use in this process, whether as a result of our own product decisions, actions by third-party browser or mobile platforms, regulatory or legislative requirements, limitations while our personnel work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, or other factors, also may impact the stability or accuracy of our estimates of duplicate and false accounts. Our estimates also may change as our methodologies evolve, including through the application of new data signals or technologies or product changes that may allow us to identify previously undetected duplicate or false accounts and may improve our ability to evaluate a broader population of our users. Duplicate and false accounts are very difficult to measure at our scale, and it is possible that the actual number of duplicate and false accounts may vary significantly from our estimates.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, we estimated that duplicate accounts may have represented approximately 11% of our worldwide MAUs. We believe the percentage of duplicate accounts is meaningfully higher in developing markets such as the Philippines and Vietnam, as compared to more developed markets. In the fourth quarter of 2021, we estimated that false accounts may have represented approximately 5% of our worldwide MAUs. Our estimation of false accounts can vary as a result of episodic spikes in the creation of such accounts, which we have seen originate more frequently in specific countries such as Indonesia, Nigeria, and Vietnam. From time to time, we disable certain user accounts, make product changes, or take other actions to reduce the number of duplicate or false accounts among our users, which may also reduce our DAU and MAU estimates in a particular period. We intend to disclose our estimates of the number of duplicate and false accounts among our MAUs on an annual basis.

Other data limitations also may affect our understanding of certain details of our business. For example, while user-provided data indicates a decline in usage among younger users, this age data may be unreliable because a disproportionate number of our younger users register with an inaccurate age. Accordingly, our understanding of usage by age group may not be complete.

In addition, our data regarding the geographic location of our users is estimated based on a number of factors, such as the user's IP address and self-disclosed location. These factors may not always accurately reflect the user's actual location. For example, a user may appear to be accessing Facebook from the location of the proxy server that the user connects to rather than from the user's actual location. The methodologies used to measure our metrics are also susceptible to algorithm or other technical errors, and our estimates for revenue by user location and revenue by user device are also affected by these factors.

In addition, from time to time we provide, or rely on, certain other metrics and estimates, including those relating to the reach and effectiveness of our ads. Many of our metrics involve the use of estimations and judgments, and our metrics and estimates are subject to software bugs, inconsistencies in our systems, and human error. Such metrics and estimates also change from time to time due to improvements or changes in our terminology or methodology, including as a result of loss of access to data signals we use in calculating such metrics and estimates. We have in the past been, and may in the future be, subject to litigation as well as marketer, regulatory, and other inquiries regarding the accuracy of such metrics and estimates. Where marketers, developers, or investors do not perceive our metrics or estimates to be accurate, or where we discover material inaccuracies in our metrics or estimates, we may be subject to liability, our reputation may be harmed, and marketers and developers may be less willing to allocate their budgets or resources to our products that deliver ad impressions, which could negatively affect our business and financial results.

We cannot assure you that we will effectively manage our growth.

Our employee headcount and the scope and complexity of our business have increased significantly, with the number of employees increasing to 71,970 as of December 31, 2021 from 58,604 as of December 31, 2020, and we expect headcount growth to continue for the foreseeable future. In addition, we plan to continue to hire a number of employees and contractors to continue to bolster various privacy, safety, security, and content review initiatives as well as other functions to support our expected growth. The growth and expansion of our business and products create significant challenges for our management, operational, and financial resources, including managing multiple relationships with users, marketers, developers, and other third parties. As our operations and the number of our third-party relationships continue to grow, our information technology systems or our internal controls and procedures may not be adequate to support such growth. In addition, some members of our management do not have significant experience managing a large global business operation, so our management may not
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be able to manage such growth effectively. Additionally, the vast majority of our personnel are currently working remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which limits their ability to perform certain job functions and may negatively impact productivity. In the long term, we may experience such challenges to productivity and collaboration as some personnel transition to working remotely on a regular basis, and we may experience difficulties integrating recently hired personnel when our offices re-open. To effectively manage our growth, we must continue to adapt to a remote work environment; improve our operational, financial, and management processes and systems; and effectively expand, train, and manage our personnel. As our organization continues to grow, and we are required to implement more complex organizational management structures, we may find it increasingly difficult to maintain the benefits of our corporate culture, including our ability to quickly develop and launch new and innovative products. This could negatively affect our business performance.

We have significant international operations and plan to continue expanding our operations abroad where we have more limited operating experience, and this may subject us to increased business, economic, and legal risks that could affect our financial results.

We have significant international operations and plan to continue the international expansion of our business operations and the translation of our products. We currently make Facebook available in more than 100 different languages, and we have offices or data centers in more than 30 different countries. We may enter new international markets where we have limited or no experience in marketing, selling, and deploying our products. Our products are generally available globally, but some or all of our products or functionality may not be available in certain markets due to legal and regulatory complexities. For example, several of our products are not generally available in China. We also outsource certain operational functions to third-party vendors globally. If we fail to deploy, manage, or oversee our international operations successfully, our business may suffer. In addition, we are subject to a variety of risks inherent in doing business internationally, including:

political, social, or economic instability;

risks related to legal, regulatory, and other government scrutiny applicable to U.S. companies with sales and operations in foreign jurisdictions, including with respect to privacy, tax, law enforcement, content, trade compliance, supply chain, competition, consumer protection, intellectual property, environmental, health and safety, licensing, and infrastructure matters;

potential damage to our brand and reputation due to compliance with local laws, including potential censorship or requirements to provide user information to local authorities;

enhanced difficulty in reviewing content on our platform and enforcing our community standards across different languages and countries;

fluctuations in currency exchange rates and compliance with currency controls;

foreign exchange controls and tax and other regulations and orders that might prevent us from repatriating cash earned in countries outside the United States or otherwise limit our ability to move cash freely, and impede our ability to invest such cash efficiently;

higher levels of credit risk and payment fraud;

enhanced difficulties of integrating any foreign acquisitions;

burdens of complying with a variety of foreign laws, including laws related to taxation, content removal, content moderation, data localization, data protection, e-commerce and payments, and regulatory oversight;

reduced protection for intellectual property rights in some countries;

difficulties in staffing, managing, and overseeing global operations and the increased travel, infrastructure, and legal compliance costs associated with multiple international locations, including difficulties arising from personnel working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic;

compliance with statutory equity requirements and management of tax consequences; and
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geopolitical events affecting us, our marketers or our industry, including trade disputes and pandemics.

In addition, we must manage the potential conflicts between locally accepted business practices in any given jurisdiction and our obligations to comply with laws and regulations, including anti-corruption laws or regulations applicable to us, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.K. Bribery Act 2010. We also must manage our obligations to comply with laws and regulations related to import and export controls, trade restrictions, and sanctions, including regulations established by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control. Government agencies and authorities have a broad range of civil and criminal penalties they may seek to impose against companies for violations of anti-corruption laws or regulations, import and export controls, trade restrictions, sanctions, and other laws, rules, and regulations.

If we are unable to expand internationally and manage the complexity of our global operations successfully, our financial results could be adversely affected. We also may be required to or elect to cease or modify our operations or the offering of our products and services in certain regions, including as a result of the risks described above, which could adversely affect our business, user growth and engagement, and financial results.

We face design, manufacturing, and supply chain risks that, if not properly managed, could adversely impact our financial results.

We face a number of risks related to design, manufacturing, and supply chain management with respect to our consumer hardware products. For example, the consumer hardware products we sell from time to time have had, and in the future may have, quality issues resulting from the design or manufacture of the products, or from the software used in the products. Sometimes, these issues may be caused by components we purchase from other manufacturers or suppliers. Our brand and financial results could be adversely affected by any such quality issues, other failures to meet our customers' expectations, or findings of our consumer hardware products to be defective.

We rely on third parties to manufacture and manage the logistics of transporting and distributing our consumer hardware products, which subjects us to a number of risks that have been exacerbated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have experienced, and may in the future experience, supply or labor shortages or other disruptions in logistics and the supply chain, which could result in shipping delays and negatively impact our operations, product development, and sales. We could be negatively affected if we are not able to engage third parties with the necessary capabilities or capacity on reasonable terms, or if those we engage with fail to meet their obligations (whether due to financial difficulties, manufacturing or supply constraints, or other reasons), or make adverse changes in the pricing or other material terms of such arrangements with them. The manufacturing, distribution, and sale of our consumer hardware products also may be negatively impacted by macroeconomic conditions, geopolitical challenges, trade disputes, or other actions by governments that subject us to supply shortages, increased costs, or supply chain disruptions.

We also require the suppliers and business partners of our consumer hardware products to comply with laws and certain company policies regarding sourcing practices and standards on labor, health and safety, the environment, and business ethics, but we do not control them or their practices and standards. If any of them violates laws, fails to implement changes in accordance with newly enacted laws, or implements practices or standards regarded as unethical, corrupt, or non-compliant, we could experience supply chain disruptions, government action or fines, canceled orders, or damage to our reputation.

We face inventory risk with respect to our consumer hardware products.

We are exposed to inventory risks with respect to our consumer hardware products as a result of rapid changes in product cycles and pricing, unsafe or defective merchandise, supply chain disruptions, changes in consumer demand and consumer spending patterns, changes in consumer tastes with respect to our consumer hardware products, and other factors. The demand for our products can also change significantly between the time inventory or components are ordered and the date of sale. While we endeavor to accurately predict these trends and avoid overstocking or understocking consumer hardware products we may sell, from time to time we have experienced difficulties in accurately predicting and meeting the consumer demand for our products. In addition, when we begin selling or manufacturing a new consumer hardware product or enter new international markets, it may be difficult to establish vendor relationships, determine appropriate product or component selection, and accurately forecast demand. The acquisition of certain types of inventory or components may require significant lead-time and prepayment and they may not be returnable. Any one of the foregoing factors may adversely
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affect our operating results.

We are involved in numerous class action lawsuits and other litigation matters that are expensive and time consuming, and, if resolved adversely, could harm our business, financial condition, or results of operations.

We are involved in numerous lawsuits, including stockholder derivative lawsuits and putative class action lawsuits, many of which claim statutory damages and/or seek significant changes to our business operations, and we anticipate that we will continue to be a target for numerous lawsuits in the future. Because of the scale of our user, advertiser, and developer base, the plaintiffs in class action cases filed against us typically claim enormous monetary damages even if the alleged per-user or entity harm is small or non-existent. In addition, we have in the past, and may in the future, be subject to additional class action lawsuits based on claims related to advertising, antitrust, privacy, biometrics, content, algorithms, employment, activities on our platform, consumer protection, or product performance or other claims related to the use of consumer hardware and software, including virtual reality technology and products, which are new and unproven. For example, we are currently the subject of multiple putative class action suits in connection with our platform and user data practices and the misuse of certain data by a developer that shared such data with third parties in violation of our terms and policies; the disclosure of our earnings results for the second quarter of 2018; our acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as other alleged anticompetitive conduct; and a former employee's allegations and release of internal company documents beginning in September 2021. The results of any such lawsuits and claims cannot be predicted with certainty, and any negative outcome from any such lawsuits could result in payments of substantial monetary damages or fines, or undesirable changes to our products or business practices, and accordingly our business, financial condition, or results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

There can be no assurances that a favorable final outcome will be obtained in all our cases, and defending any lawsuit is costly and can impose a significant burden on management and employees. Any litigation to which we are a party may result in an onerous or unfavorable judgment that may not be reversed upon appeal or in payments of substantial monetary damages or fines, or we may decide to settle lawsuits on similarly unfavorable terms, which has occurred in the past and which could adversely affect our business, financial conditions, or results of operations.

We may have exposure to greater than anticipated tax liabilities.

Our tax obligations, including income and non-income taxes, are based in part on our corporate operating structure and intercompany arrangements, including the manner in which we operate our business, develop, value, manage, protect, and use our intellectual property, and the valuations of our intercompany transactions. The tax laws applicable to our business, including the laws of the United States and other jurisdictions, are subject to interpretation and certain jurisdictions are aggressively interpreting their laws in new ways in an effort to raise additional tax revenue from companies such as Meta. We are subject to regular review and audit by U.S. federal, state, and foreign tax authorities. Tax authorities may disagree with certain positions we have taken, including our methodologies for valuing developed technology or intercompany arrangements, and any adverse outcome of such a review or audit could increase our worldwide effective tax rate, increase the amount of non-income taxes imposed on our business, and harm our financial position, results of operations, and cash flows. For example, in 2016 and 2018, the IRS issued formal assessments relating to transfer pricing with our foreign subsidiaries in conjunction with the examination of the 2010 through 2013 tax years. Although we disagree with the IRS's position and are litigating this issue, the ultimate resolution is uncertain and, if resolved in a manner unfavorable to us, may adversely affect our financial results.

The determination of our worldwide provision for income taxes and other tax liabilities requires significant judgment by management, and there are many transactions where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. Our provision for income taxes is determined by the manner in which we operate our business, and any changes to such operations or laws applicable to such operations may affect our effective tax rate. Although we believe that our provision for income taxes and estimates of our non-income tax liabilities are reasonable, the ultimate settlement may differ from the amounts recorded in our financial statements and may materially affect our financial results in the period or periods for which such determination is made.

Our future income tax rates could be volatile and difficult to predict due to changes in jurisdictional profit split, changes in the amount and recognition of deferred tax assets and liabilities, or by changes in tax laws, regulations, or accounting principles.

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Changes in tax laws or tax rulings could materially affect our financial position, results of operations, and cash flows.

The tax regimes we are subject to or operate under, including income and non-income taxes, are unsettled and may be subject to significant change. Changes in tax laws or tax rulings, or changes in interpretations of existing laws, could materially affect our financial position, results of operations, and cash flows. For example, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Tax Act) enacted in December 2017 had a significant impact on our tax obligations and effective tax rate for the fourth quarter of 2017. The issuance of additional regulatory or accounting guidance related to the Tax Act, or other executive or Congressional actions in the United States or globally could materially increase our tax obligations and significantly impact our effective tax rate in the period such guidance is issued or such actions take effect, and in future periods. In addition, many countries have recently proposed or recommended changes to existing tax laws or have enacted new laws that could significantly increase our tax obligations in many countries where we do business or require us to change the manner in which we operate our business.

Over the last several years, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has been working on a Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project that, if implemented, would change various aspects of the existing framework under which our tax obligations are determined in many of the countries in which we do business. In 2021, more than 140 countries tentatively signed on to a framework that imposes a minimum tax rate of 15%, among other provisions. As this framework is subject to further negotiation and implementation by each member country, the timing and ultimate impact of any such changes on our tax obligations are uncertain. Similarly, the European Commission and several countries have issued proposals that would apply to various aspects of the current tax framework under which we are taxed. These proposals include changes to the existing framework to calculate income tax, as well as proposals to change or impose new types of non-income taxes, including taxes based on a percentage of revenue. For example, several jurisdictions have proposed or enacted taxes applicable to digital services, which include business activities on digital advertising and online marketplaces, and which apply to our business.

The European Commission has conducted investigations in multiple countries focusing on whether local country tax rulings or tax legislation provides preferential tax treatment that violates European Union state aid rules and concluded that certain member states, including Ireland, have provided illegal state aid in certain cases. These investigations may result in changes to the tax treatment of our foreign operations.

Due to the large and expanding scale of our international business activities, many of these types of changes to the taxation of our activities described above could increase our worldwide effective tax rate, increase the amount of non-income taxes imposed on our business, and harm our financial position, results of operations, and cash flows. Such changes may also apply retroactively to our historical operations and result in taxes greater than the amounts estimated and recorded in our financial statements.

Given our levels of share-based compensation, our tax rate may vary significantly depending on our stock price.

The tax effects of the accounting for share-based compensation may significantly impact our effective tax rate from period to period. In periods in which our stock price is higher than the grant price of the share-based compensation vesting in that period, we will recognize excess tax benefits that will decrease our effective tax rate. For example, in 2021, excess tax benefits recognized from share-based compensation decreased our provision for income taxes by $1.13 billion and our effective tax rate by two percentage points as compared to the tax rate without such benefits. In future periods in which our stock price is lower than the grant price of the share-based compensation vesting in that period, our effective tax rate may increase. The amount and value of share-based compensation issued relative to our earnings in a particular period will also affect the magnitude of the impact of share-based compensation on our effective tax rate. These tax effects are dependent on our stock price, which we do not control, and a decline in our stock price could significantly increase our effective tax rate and adversely affect our financial results.

If our goodwill or intangible assets become impaired, we may be required to record a significant charge to earnings.

We review our intangible assets for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable, such as a decline in stock price and market capitalization. We test goodwill for impairment at the reporting unit level at least annually. If such goodwill or intangible assets are deemed to be impaired, an impairment loss equal to the amount by which the carrying amount exceeds the fair value of the assets would be recognized. We may be required to record a significant charge in our financial statements during the period in which any impairment of our goodwill
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or intangible assets is determined, which would negatively affect our results of operations.

The loss of one or more of our key personnel, or our failure to attract and retain other highly qualified personnel in the future, could harm our business.

We currently depend on the continued services and performance of our key personnel, including Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl K. Sandberg. Although we have entered into employment agreements with Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg, the agreements have no specific duration and constitute at-will employment. In addition, many of our key technologies and systems are custom-made for our business by our personnel. The loss of key personnel, including members of management as well as key engineering, product development, marketing, and sales personnel, could disrupt our operations and have an adverse effect on our business.

As we continue to grow, we cannot guarantee we will continue to attract and retain the personnel we need to maintain our competitive position. In particular, we intend to continue to hire a significant number of technical personnel in the foreseeable future, and we expect to continue to face significant challenges in hiring such personnel, particularly for engineering talent, whether as a result of competition with other companies or other factors. As we continue to mature, the incentives to attract, retain, and motivate employees provided by our equity awards or by future arrangements may not be as effective as in the past, and if we issue significant equity to attract additional employees or to retain our existing employees, we would incur substantial additional share-based compensation expense and the ownership of our existing stockholders would be further diluted. Our ability to attract, retain, and motivate employees may also be adversely affected by stock price volatility. In addition, restrictive immigration policies or legal or regulatory developments relating to immigration may negatively affect our efforts to attract and hire new personnel as well as retain our existing personnel. If we do not succeed in attracting, hiring, and integrating excellent personnel, or retaining and motivating existing personnel, we may be unable to grow effectively.

Our CEO has control over key decision making as a result of his control of a majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock.

Mark Zuckerberg, our founder, Chairman, and CEO, is able to exercise voting rights with respect to a majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock and therefore has the ability to control the outcome of matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including the election of directors and any merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets. This concentrated control could delay, defer, or prevent a change of control, merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets that our other stockholders support, or conversely this concentrated control could result in the consummation of such a transaction that our other stockholders do not support. This concentrated control could also discourage a potential investor from acquiring our Class A common stock, which has limited voting power relative to the Class B common stock, and might harm the trading price of our Class A common stock. In addition, Mr. Zuckerberg has the ability to control the management and major strategic investments of our company as a result of his position as our CEO and his ability to control the election or, in some cases, the replacement of our directors. In the event of his death, the shares of our capital stock that Mr. Zuckerberg owns will be transferred to the persons or entities that he has designated. As a board member and officer, Mr. Zuckerberg owes a fiduciary duty to our stockholders and must act in good faith in a manner he reasonably believes to be in the best interests of our stockholders. As a stockholder, even a controlling stockholder, Mr. Zuckerberg is entitled to vote his shares, and shares over which he has voting control as governed by a voting agreement, in his own interests, which may not always be in the interests of our stockholders generally.

We cannot guarantee that our share repurchase program will be fully consummated or that it will enhance long-term stockholder value. Share repurchases could also increase the volatility of the trading price of our stock and will diminish our cash reserves.

Although our board of directors has authorized a share repurchase program that does not have an expiration date, the program does not obligate us to repurchase any specific dollar amount or to acquire any specific number of shares of our Class A common stock. We cannot guarantee that the program will be fully consummated or that it will enhance long-term stockholder value. The program could affect the trading price of our stock and increase volatility, and any announcement of a termination of this program may result in a decrease in the trading price of our stock. In addition, this program will diminish our cash reserves.

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Risks Related to Government Regulation and Enforcement

Actions by governments that restrict access to Facebook or our other products in their countries, censor or moderate content on our products in their countries, or otherwise impair our ability to sell advertising in their countries, could substantially harm our business and financial results.

Governments from time to time seek to censor or moderate content available on Facebook or our other products in their country, restrict access to our products from their country partially or entirely, or impose other restrictions that may affect the accessibility of our products in their country for an extended period of time or indefinitely. For example, user access to Facebook and certain of our other products has been or is currently restricted in whole or in part in China, Iran, and North Korea. In addition, government authorities in other countries may seek to restrict user access to our products if they consider us to be in violation of their laws or a threat to public safety or for other reasons, and certain of our products have been restricted by governments in other countries from time to time. For example, in June 2020, Hong Kong adopted a National Security Law that provides authorities with the ability to obtain information, remove and block access to content, and suspend user services, and if we are found to be in violation of this law then the use of our products may be restricted. In addition, if we are required to or elect to make changes to our marketing and sales or other operations in Hong Kong as a result of the National Security Law, our revenue and business in the region will be adversely affected. It is also possible that government authorities could take action that impairs our ability to sell advertising, including in countries where access to our consumer-facing products may be blocked or restricted. For example, we generate meaningful revenue from a limited number of resellers representing advertisers based in China, and it is possible that the Chinese government could take action that reduces or eliminates our China-based advertising revenue, whether as a result of the trade dispute with the United States, in response to content issues or information requests in Hong Kong or elsewhere, or for other reasons, or take other action against us, such as imposing taxes or other penalties, which could adversely affect our financial results. Similarly, if we are found to be out of compliance with certain legal requirements for social media companies in Turkey, the Turkish government could take action to reduce or eliminate our Turkey-based advertising revenue or otherwise adversely impact access to our products. In the event that content shown on Facebook or our other products is subject to censorship, access to our products is restricted, in whole or in part, in one or more countries, we are required to or elect to make changes to our operations, or other restrictions are imposed on our products, or our competitors are able to successfully penetrate new geographic markets or capture a greater share of existing geographic markets that we cannot access or where we face other restrictions, our ability to retain or increase our user base, user engagement, or the level of advertising by marketers may be adversely affected, we may not be able to maintain or grow our revenue as anticipated, and our financial results could be adversely affected.

Our business is subject to complex and evolving U.S. and foreign laws and regulations regarding privacy, data use and data protection, content, competition, safety and consumer protection, e-commerce, and other matters. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and could result in claims, changes to our products and business practices, monetary penalties, increased cost of operations, or declines in user growth or engagement, or otherwise harm our business.

We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States and abroad that involve matters central to our business, including privacy, data use, data protection and personal information, biometrics, encryption, rights of publicity, content, intellectual property, advertising, marketing, distribution, data security, data retention and deletion, data localization and storage, data disclosure, artificial intelligence, electronic contracts and other communications, competition, protection of minors, consumer protection, civil rights, telecommunications, product liability, e-commerce, taxation, economic or other trade controls including sanctions, anti-corruption and political law compliance, securities law compliance, and online payment services. The introduction of new products, expansion of our activities in certain jurisdictions, or other actions that we may take may subject us to additional laws, regulations, or other government scrutiny. In addition, foreign data protection, privacy, content, competition, consumer protection, and other laws and regulations can impose different obligations or be more restrictive than those in the United States.

These U.S. federal and state and foreign laws and regulations, which in some cases can be enforced by private parties in addition to government entities, are constantly evolving and can be subject to significant change. As a result, the application, interpretation, and enforcement of these laws and regulations are often uncertain, particularly in the new and rapidly evolving industry in which we operate, and may be interpreted and applied inconsistently from country to country and inconsistently with our current policies and practices. For example, regulatory or legislative actions affecting the manner in which we display content to our users or obtain consent to various practices could adversely affect user growth and engagement. Such actions could affect the manner in which we provide our services or adversely affect our financial results.
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We are also subject to evolving laws and regulations that dictate whether, how, and under what circumstances we can transfer, process and/or receive certain data that is critical to our operations, including data shared between countries or regions in which we operate and data shared among our products and services. For example, in 2016, the European Union and United States agreed to a transfer framework for data transferred from the European Union to the United States, called the Privacy Shield, but the Privacy Shield was invalidated in July 2020 by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). In addition, the other bases upon which Meta relies to transfer such data, such as Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs), have been subjected to regulatory and judicial scrutiny. For example, the CJEU considered the validity of SCCs as a basis to transfer user data from the European Union to the United States following a challenge brought by the Irish Data Protection Commission (IDPC). Although the CJEU upheld the validity of SCCs in July 2020, our continued reliance on SCCs will be the subject of future regulatory consideration. In particular, in August 2020, we received a preliminary draft decision from the IDPC that preliminarily concluded that Meta Platforms Ireland's reliance on SCCs in respect of European user data does not achieve compliance with the GDPR and preliminarily proposed that such transfers of user data from the European Union to the United States should therefore be suspended. Meta Platforms Ireland challenged procedural aspects of this IDPC inquiry in a judicial review commenced in the Irish High Court in September 2020. In May 2021, the court rejected Meta Platforms Ireland's procedural challenges and the inquiry subsequently recommenced. We believe a final decision in this inquiry may issue as early as the first half of 2022. If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs or rely upon other alternative means of data transfers from Europe to the United States, we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe, which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, we have been managing investigations and lawsuits in Europe, India, and other jurisdictions regarding the August 2016 update to WhatsApp's terms of service and privacy policy and its sharing of certain data with other Meta products and services, including a lawsuit currently pending before the Supreme Court of India, and also became subject to government inquiries and lawsuits regarding the 2021 update to WhatsApp's terms of service and privacy policy. If we are unable to transfer data between and among countries and regions in which we operate, or if we are restricted from sharing data among our products and services, it could affect our ability to provide our services, the manner in which we provide our services or our ability to target ads, which could adversely affect our financial results.

We have been subject to other significant legislative and regulatory developments in the past, and proposed or new legislation and regulations could significantly affect our business in the future. For example, we have implemented a number of product changes and controls as a result of requirements under the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and may implement additional changes in the future. The GDPR also requires submission of personal data breach notifications to our lead European Union privacy regulator, the IDPC, and includes significant penalties for non-compliance with the notification obligation as well as other requirements of the regulation. The GDPR is still a relatively new law, its interpretation is still evolving, and draft decisions in investigations by the IDPC are subject to review by other European privacy regulators as part of the GDPR's consistency mechanism, which may lead to significant changes in the final outcome of such investigations. As a result, the interpretation and enforcement of the GDPR, as well as the imposition and amount of penalties for non-compliance, are subject to significant uncertainty. In addition, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and other countries have enacted similar data protection regulations imposing data privacy-related requirements on products and services offered to users in their respective jurisdictions. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which took effect in January 2020, and its successor, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which will take effect in January 2023, also establish certain transparency rules and create new data privacy rights for users, including limitations on our use of certain sensitive personal information and more ability for users to control how their data is shared with third parties. These laws and regulations are evolving and subject to interpretation, and resulting limitations on our advertising services, or reductions of advertising by marketers, have to some extent adversely affected, and will continue to adversely affect, our advertising business. For example, regulators continue to issue guidance concerning the ePrivacy Directive's requirements regarding the use of cookies and similar technologies. In addition, effective December 2020, the ePrivacy Directive includes additional limitations on the use of data across messaging products and includes significant penalties for non-compliance. Changes to our products or business practices as a result of these or similar developments may adversely affect our advertising business. Similarly, there are a number of legislative proposals in the European Union, the United States, at both the federal and state level, as well as other jurisdictions that could impose new obligations or limitations in areas affecting our business. For example, the proposed Digital Markets Act in the European Union and pending proposals to modify competition laws in the United States and other jurisdictions could cause us to incur significant compliance costs and could potentially impose new restrictions and requirements on companies like ours, including in areas such as the combination of data across services, mergers and acquisitions, and product design. In addition, some countries, such as India, are considering or have passed legislation implementing data protection requirements or requiring local storage and processing of data or similar
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requirements that could increase the cost and complexity of delivering our services. New legislation or regulatory decisions that restrict our ability to collect and use information about minors may also result in limitations on our advertising services or our ability to offer products and services to minors in certain jurisdictions.

These laws and regulations, as well as any associated claims, inquiries, or investigations or any other government actions, have in the past led to, and may in the future lead to, unfavorable outcomes including increased compliance costs, delays or impediments in the development of new products, negative publicity and reputational harm, increased operating costs, diversion of management time and attention, and remedies that harm our business, including fines or demands or orders that we modify or cease existing business practices.

We have been subject to regulatory and other government investigations, enforcement actions, and settlements, and we expect to continue to be subject to such proceedings and other inquiries in the future, which could cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices in a manner materially adverse to our business.

We receive formal and informal inquiries from government authorities and regulators regarding our compliance with laws and regulations, many of which are evolving and subject to interpretation. We are and expect to continue to be the subject of investigations, inquiries, data requests, requests for information, actions, and audits in the United States, Europe, and around the world, particularly in the areas of privacy, data protection, law enforcement, consumer protection, civil rights, content moderation, and competition, as we continue to grow and expand our operations. In addition, we are currently, and may in the future be, subject to regulatory orders or consent decrees. For example, data protection, competition, and consumer protection authorities in the European Union and other jurisdictions have initiated actions, investigations, or administrative orders seeking to restrict the ways in which we collect and use information, or impose sanctions, and other authorities may do the same. In addition, beginning in March 2018, we became subject to FTC, state attorneys general, and other government inquiries in the United States, Europe, and other jurisdictions in connection with our platform and user data practices as well as the misuse of certain data by a developer that shared such data with third parties in violation of our terms and policies. In July 2019, we entered into a settlement and modified consent order to resolve the FTC inquiry, which was approved by the federal court and took effect in April 2020. Among other matters, our settlement with the FTC required us to pay a penalty of $5.0 billion and to significantly enhance our practices and processes for privacy compliance and oversight. The state attorneys general inquiry and certain government inquiries in other jurisdictions remain ongoing. Beginning in September 2018, we also became subject to IDPC and other government inquiries in connection with a third-party cyber-attack that exploited a vulnerability in Facebook's code to steal user access tokens and access certain profile information from user accounts on Facebook. We also notify the IDPC, our lead European Union privacy regulator under the GDPR, of certain other personal data breaches and privacy issues, and are subject to inquiries and investigations by the IDPC and other European regulators regarding various aspects of our regulatory compliance.

In addition, we are subject to various litigation and formal and informal inquiries and investigations by competition authorities in the United States, Europe, and other jurisdictions, which relate to many aspects of our business, including with respect to users and advertisers, as well as our industry. Such inquiries, investigations, and lawsuits concern, among other things, our business practices in the areas of social networking or social media services, digital advertising, and/or mobile or online applications, as well as our acquisitions. For example, in June 2019 we were informed by the FTC that it had opened an antitrust investigation of our company. In addition, beginning in the third quarter of 2019, we became the subject of antitrust inquiries and investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general. Beginning in December 2020, we also became subject to lawsuits by the FTC and the attorneys general from 46 states, the territory of Guam, and the District of Columbia in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that we violated antitrust laws, including by acquiring Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 and by maintaining conditions on access to our platform, among other things. The complaints of the FTC and attorneys general both sought a permanent injunction against our company's alleged violations of the antitrust laws, and other equitable relief, including divestiture or reconstruction of Instagram and WhatsApp. We are also subject to other government inquiries and investigations relating to our business activities and disclosure practices. For example, beginning in September 2021, we became subject to government investigations and requests relating to allegations and the release of internal company documents by a former employee.

Orders issued by, or inquiries or enforcement actions initiated by, government or regulatory authorities could cause us to incur substantial costs, expose us to unanticipated civil and criminal liability or penalties (including substantial monetary remedies), interrupt or require us to change our business practices in a manner materially adverse to our business, result in negative publicity and reputational harm, divert resources and the time and attention of management from our business, or subject us to other structural or behavioral remedies that adversely affect our business, and we have experienced some of
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these adverse effects to varying degrees from time to time.

Compliance with our FTC consent order, the GDPR, the CCPA, the ePrivacy Directive, and other regulatory and legislative privacy requirements require significant operational resources and modifications to our business practices, and any compliance failures may have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, and financial results.

We are engaged in ongoing privacy compliance and oversight efforts, including in connection with our modified consent order with the FTC, requirements of the GDPR, and other regulatory and legislative requirements around the world, such as the CCPA and the ePrivacy Directive. In particular, we are maintaining a comprehensive privacy program in connection with the FTC consent order that includes substantial management and board of directors oversight, stringent operational requirements and reporting obligations, prohibitions against making misrepresentations relating to user data, a process to regularly certify our compliance with the privacy program to the FTC, and regular assessments of our privacy program by an independent third-party assessor, which has been and will continue to be challenging and costly to maintain and enhance. These compliance and oversight efforts are increasing demand on our systems and resources, and require significant new and ongoing investments, including investments in compliance processes, personnel, and technical infrastructure. We are reallocating resources internally to assist with these efforts, and this has had, and will continue to have, an adverse impact on our other business initiatives. In addition, these efforts require substantial modifications to our business practices and make some practices such as product and ads development more difficult, time-consuming, and costly. As a result, we believe our ability to develop and launch new features, products, and services in a timely manner has been and will continue to be adversely affected. We also expect that our privacy compliance and oversight efforts will require significant time and attention from our management and board of directors. The requirements of the FTC consent order and other privacy-related laws and regulations are complex and apply broadly to our business, and from time to time we notify relevant authorities of instances where we are not in full compliance with these requirements or otherwise discover privacy issues, and we expect to continue to do so as any such issues arise in the future. In addition, regulatory and legislative privacy requirements are constantly evolving and can be subject to significant change and uncertain interpretation. If we are unable to successfully implement and comply with the mandates of the FTC consent order, GDPR, CCPA, ePrivacy Directive, or other regulatory or legislative requirements, or if we are found to be in violation of the consent order or other applicable requirements, we may be subject to regulatory or governmental investigations or lawsuits, which may result in significant monetary fines, judgments, or other penalties, and we may also be required to make additional changes to our business practices. Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, and financial results.

We may incur liability as a result of information retrieved from or transmitted over the internet or published using our products or as a result of claims related to our products, and legislation regulating content on our platform may require us to change our products or business practices and may adversely affect our business and financial results.

We have faced, currently face, and will continue to face claims relating to information or content that is published or made available on our products, including our policies and enforcement actions with respect to such information or content. In particular, the nature of our business exposes us to claims related to defamation, dissemination of misinformation or news hoaxes, discrimination, harassment, intellectual property rights, rights of publicity and privacy, personal injury torts, laws regulating hate speech or other types of content, online safety, consumer protection, and breach of contract, among others. This risk is enhanced in certain jurisdictions outside the United States where our protection from liability for third-party actions may be unclear or where we may be less protected under local laws than we are in the United States. For example, in April 2019, the European Union passed a directive (the European Copyright Directive) expanding online platform liability for copyright infringement and regulating certain uses of news content online, which member states are currently implementing into their national laws. In addition, the European Union revised the European Audiovisual Media Service Directive to apply to online video-sharing platforms, which member states are expected to implement by 2021. In the United States, there have been, and continue to be, various legislative and executive efforts to remove or restrict the scope of the protections available to online platforms under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, as well as to impose new obligations on online platforms with respect to commerce listings, user content, counterfeit goods and copyright-infringing material, and our current protections from liability for third-party content in the United States could decrease or change. We could incur significant costs investigating and defending such claims and, if we are found liable, significant damages. We could also face fines, orders restricting or blocking our services in particular geographies, or other government-imposed remedies as a result of content hosted on our services. For example, legislation in Germany and India has resulted in the past, and may result in the future, in the imposition of fines or other penalties for failure to comply with certain content removal, law enforcement cooperation, and disclosure obligations. Numerous other countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America are considering or have implemented similar legislation imposing potentially significant penalties, including fines,
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service throttling, or advertising bans, for failure to remove certain types of content or follow certain processes. For example, we have been subject to fines and may in the future be subject to other penalties in connection with social media legislation in Russia and Turkey. Content-related legislation also has required us in the past, and may require us in the future, to change our products or business practices, increase our costs, or otherwise impact our operations or our ability to provide services in certain geographies. For example, the European Copyright Directive requires certain online services to obtain authorizations for copyrighted content or to implement measures to prevent the availability of that content, which may require us to make substantial investments in compliance processes. Member states' laws implementing the European Copyright Directive may also require online platforms to pay for content. In addition, our compliance costs may significantly increase as a result of the Digital Services Act proposed in the European Union, which is expected to take effect in 2023, and other content-related legislative developments such as online safety bills in Ireland and the United Kingdom. In the United States, changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act or new state or federal content-related legislation may increase our costs or require significant changes to our products, business practices, or operations, which could adversely affect user growth and engagement. Any of the foregoing events could adversely affect our business and financial results.

Payment transactions may subject us to additional regulatory requirements and other risks that could be costly and difficult to comply with or that could harm our business.

Several of our products offer Payments functionality, including enabling our users to purchase virtual and digital goods from developers that offer applications using our Payments infrastructure, send money to other users, and make donations to certain charitable organizations, among other activities. We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere, including those governing anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing, money transmission, stored value, gift cards and other prepaid access instruments, electronic funds transfer, virtual currency, consumer protection, charitable fundraising, trade sanctions, and import and export restrictions. Depending on how our Payments products evolve, we may also be subject to other laws and regulations including those governing gambling, banking, and lending. In some jurisdictions, the application or interpretation of these laws and regulations is not clear. To increase flexibility in how our use of Payments may evolve and to mitigate regulatory uncertainty, we have received certain payments licenses in the United States, the European Economic Area, and other jurisdictions, which will generally require us to demonstrate compliance with many domestic and foreign laws in these areas. Our efforts to comply with these laws and regulations could be costly and result in diversion of management time and effort and may still not guarantee compliance. In the event that we are found to be in violation of any such legal or regulatory requirements, we may be subject to monetary fines or other penalties such as a cease and desist order, or we may be required to make product changes, any of which could have an adverse effect on our business and financial results.

In addition, we are subject to a variety of additional risks as a result of Payments transactions, including: increased costs and diversion of management time and effort and other resources to deal with bad transactions or customer disputes; potential fraudulent or otherwise illegal activity by users, developers, employees, or third parties; restrictions on the investment of consumer funds used to transact Payments; and additional disclosure and reporting requirements. We have also launched certain payments functionality on WhatsApp and have announced plans to develop digital payments products and services, which may subject us to many of the foregoing risks and additional licensing requirements.

Our digital payments initiatives subject us to significant regulatory scrutiny and other risks that could adversely affect our business, reputation, or financial results.

We are pursuing digital payments initiatives, such as Novi, a digital wallet that we expect to offer as both a standalone application and subsequently integrated in other Meta products. These initiatives may use blockchain-based assets, such as the USDP stablecoin issued by Paxos Trust Company, which is being used in a Novi pilot program in the United States and Guatemala beginning in October 2021. Our future initiatives to support commerce in the metaverse also may use blockchain-based assets in digital payments. Use of blockchain-based assets in payments are a relatively new and unproven technology, and the laws and regulations surrounding them are uncertain and evolving. These digital payments efforts have drawn significant scrutiny from governments and regulators in multiple jurisdictions and we expect that scrutiny to continue. We are participating in responses to inquiries from governments and regulators related to our digital payments initiatives, and adverse government or regulatory actions or negative publicity resulting from such participation may adversely affect our reputation and harm our business.

As our digital payments initiatives evolve, we may be subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States and international jurisdictions, including those governing payments, financial services, virtual currency, anti-money
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laundering, counter-terrorism financing, trade sanctions, data protection, tax, consumer protection, and competition. In many jurisdictions, the application or interpretation of these laws and regulations is not clear, particularly with respect to evolving laws and regulations that are applied to blockchain and digital payments. In addition, Novi has also received state money transmitter licenses in the United States, with more pending approval, and has other financial services license applications pending in certain other countries that would allow us to conduct digital wallet activities in those countries. These licenses, laws, and regulations, as well as any associated inquiries or investigations, may delay or impede the development of digital payments products and services we offer, increase our operating costs, require significant management time and attention, or otherwise harm our business.

In addition, market acceptance of digital payments products and services is subject to significant uncertainty. As such, there can be no assurance that digital payments products and services we offer will be made available in a timely manner, or at all. We do not have significant prior experience with blockchain-based technology, which may adversely affect our ability to successfully develop and market such digital payments products and services. We will also incur increased costs in connection with these efforts, and our investments may not be successful. Any of these events could adversely affect our business, reputation, or financial results.

Risks Related to Data, Security, and Intellectual Property

Security breaches, improper access to or disclosure of our data or user data, other hacking and phishing attacks on our systems, or other cyber incidents could harm our reputation and adversely affect our business.

Our industry is prone to cyber-attacks by third parties seeking unauthorized access to our data or users' data or to disrupt our ability to provide service. Our products and services involve the collection, storage, processing, and transmission of a large amount of data. Any failure to prevent or mitigate security breaches and improper access to or disclosure of our data or user data, including personal information, content, or payment information from users, or information from marketers, could result in the loss, modification, disclosure, destruction, or other misuse of such data, which could harm our business and reputation and diminish our competitive position. In addition, computer malware, viruses, social engineering (such as spear phishing attacks), scraping, and general hacking continue to be prevalent in our industry, have occurred on our systems in the past, and will occur on our systems in the future. We also regularly encounter attempts to create false or undesirable user accounts, purchase ads, or take other actions on our platform for purposes such as spamming, spreading misinformation, or other objectionable ends. As a result of our prominence, the size of our user base, the types and volume of personal data and content on our systems, and the evolving nature of our products and services (including our efforts involving new and emerging technologies), we believe that we are a particularly attractive target for such breaches and attacks, including from nation states and highly sophisticated, state-sponsored, or otherwise well-funded actors. Our efforts to address undesirable activity on our platform also increase the risk of retaliatory attacks. Such breaches and attacks may cause interruptions to the services we provide, degrade the user experience, cause users or marketers to lose confidence and trust in our products, impair our internal systems, or result in financial harm to us. Our efforts to protect our company data or the information we receive, and to disable undesirable activities on our platform, may also be unsuccessful due to software bugs or other technical malfunctions; employee, contractor, or vendor error or malfeasance, including defects or vulnerabilities in our vendors' information technology systems or offerings; government surveillance; breaches of physical security of our facilities or technical infrastructure; or other threats that evolve. In addition, third parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees or users to disclose information in order to gain access to our data or our users' data. Cyber-attacks continue to evolve in sophistication and volume, and inherently may be difficult to detect for long periods of time. Although we have developed systems and processes that are designed to protect our data and user data, to prevent data loss, to disable undesirable accounts and activities on our platform, and to prevent or detect security breaches, we cannot assure you that such measures will provide absolute security, that we will be able to react in a timely manner, or that our remediation efforts will be successful. The changes in our work environment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic could also impact the security of our systems, as well as our ability to protect against attacks and detect and respond to them quickly.

In addition, some of our developers or other partners, such as those that help us measure the effectiveness of ads, may receive or store information provided by us or by our users through mobile or web applications integrated with our products. We provide limited information to such third parties based on the scope of services provided to us. However, if these third parties or developers fail to adopt or adhere to adequate data security practices, or in the event of a breach of their networks, our data or our users' data may be improperly accessed, used, or disclosed.

We experience such cyber-attacks and other security incidents of varying degrees from time to time, and we incur
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significant costs in protecting against or remediating such incidents. In addition, we are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States and abroad relating to cybersecurity and data protection, as well as obligations under our modified consent order with the FTC. As a result, affected users or government authorities could initiate legal or regulatory actions against us in connection with any actual or perceived security breaches or improper access to or disclosure of data, which has occurred in the past and which could cause us to incur significant expense and liability or result in orders or consent decrees forcing us to modify our business practices. Such incidents or our efforts to remediate such incidents may also result in a decline in our active user base or engagement levels. Any of these events could have a material and adverse effect on our business, reputation, or financial results.

For example, in September 2018, we announced our discovery of a third-party cyber-attack that exploited a vulnerability in Facebook's code to steal user access tokens, which were then used to access certain profile information from approximately 29 million user accounts on Facebook. The events surrounding this cyber-attack became the subject of Irish Data Protection Commission and other government inquiries. Any such inquiries could subject us to substantial fines and costs, require us to change our business practices, divert resources and the attention of management from our business, or adversely affect our business.
We anticipate that our ongoing efforts related to privacy, safety, security, and content review will identify additional instances of misuse of user data or other undesirable activity by third parties on our platform.

In addition to our efforts to mitigate cybersecurity risks, we are making significant investments in privacy, safety, security, and content review efforts to combat misuse of our services and user data by third parties, including investigations and audits of platform applications, as well as other enforcement efforts. As a result of these efforts we have discovered and announced, and anticipate that we will continue to discover and announce, additional incidents of misuse of user data or other undesirable activity by third parties. We may not discover all such incidents or activity, whether as a result of our data or technical limitations, including our lack of visibility over our encrypted services, the scale of activity on our platform, challenges related to our personnel working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, the allocation of resources to other projects, or other factors, and we may be notified of such incidents or activity by the independent privacy assessor required under our modified consent order with the FTC, the media, or other third parties. Such incidents and activities have in the past, and may in the future, include the use of user data or our systems in a manner inconsistent with our terms, contracts or policies, the existence of false or undesirable user accounts, election interference, improper advertising practices, activities that threaten people's safety on- or offline, or instances of spamming, scraping, data harvesting, unsecured datasets, or spreading misinformation. We may also be unsuccessful in our efforts to enforce our policies or otherwise remediate any such incidents. Consequences of any of the foregoing developments include negative effects on user trust and engagement, harm to our reputation and brands, changes to our business practices in a manner adverse to our business, and adverse effects on our business and financial results. Any such developments may also subject us to additional litigation and regulatory inquiries, which could subject us to monetary penalties and damages, divert management's time and attention, and lead to enhanced regulatory oversight.

Our products and internal systems rely on software and hardware that is highly technical, and any errors, bugs, or vulnerabilities in these systems, or failures to address or mitigate technical limitations in our systems, could adversely affect our business.

Our products and internal systems rely on software and hardware, including software and hardware developed or maintained internally and/or by third parties, that is highly technical and complex. In addition, our products and internal systems depend on the ability of such software and hardware to store, retrieve, process, and manage immense amounts of data. The software and hardware on which we rely has contained, and will in the future contain, errors, bugs, or vulnerabilities, and our systems are subject to certain technical limitations that may compromise our ability to meet our objectives. Some errors, bugs, or vulnerabilities inherently may be difficult to detect and may only be discovered after the code has been released for external or internal use. For example, in September 2018, we announced our discovery of a third-party cyber-attack that exploited a vulnerability in Facebook's code to steal user access tokens and access certain profile information from user accounts on Facebook. Errors, bugs, vulnerabilities, design defects, or technical limitations within the software and hardware on which we rely, or human error in using such systems, have in the past led to, and may in the future lead to, outcomes including a negative experience for users and marketers who use our products, compromised ability of our products to perform in a manner consistent with our terms, contracts, or policies, delayed product introductions or enhancements, targeting, measurement, or billing errors, compromised ability to protect the data of our users and/or our intellectual property or other data, or reductions in our ability to provide some or all of our services. For example, we make
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commitments to our users as to how their data will be used within and across our products, and our systems are subject to errors, bugs and technical limitations that may prevent us from fulfilling these commitments reliably. In addition, any errors, bugs, vulnerabilities, or defects in our systems or the software and hardware on which we rely, failures to properly address or mitigate the technical limitations in our systems, or associated degradations or interruptions of service or failures to fulfill our commitments to our users, have in the past led to, and may in the future lead to, outcomes including damage to our reputation, loss of users, loss of marketers, loss of revenue, regulatory inquiries, litigation, or liability for fines, damages, or other remedies, any of which could adversely affect our business and financial results.

If we are unable to protect our intellectual property, the value of our brands and other intangible assets may be diminished, and our business may be adversely affected.

We rely and expect to continue to rely on a combination of confidentiality, assignment, and license agreements with our employees, consultants, and third parties with whom we have relationships, as well as trademark, copyright, patent, trade secret, and domain name protection laws, to protect our proprietary rights. In the United States and internationally, we have filed various applications for protection of certain aspects of our intellectual property, and we currently hold a significant number of registered trademarks and issued patents in multiple jurisdictions and have acquired patents and patent applications from third parties. Third parties may knowingly or unknowingly infringe our proprietary rights, third parties may challenge proprietary rights held by us, and pending and future trademark and patent applications may not be approved. In addition, effective intellectual property protection may not be available in every country in which we operate or intend to operate our business. In any or all of these cases, we may be required to expend significant time and expense in order to prevent infringement or to enforce our rights. Although we have generally taken measures to protect our proprietary rights, there can be no assurance that others will not offer products or concepts that are substantially similar to ours and compete with our business. In addition, we regularly contribute software source code under open source licenses and have made other technology we developed available under other open licenses, and we include open source software in our products. As a result of our open source contributions and the use of open source in our products, we may license or be required to license or disclose code and/or innovations that turn out to be material to our business and may also be exposed to increased litigation risk. If the protection of our proprietary rights is inadequate to prevent unauthorized use or appropriation by third parties, the value of our brands and other intangible assets may be diminished and competitors may be able to more effectively mimic our products, services, and methods of operations. Any of these events could have an adverse effect on our business and financial results.

We are currently, and expect to be in the future, party to patent lawsuits and other intellectual property rights claims that are expensive and time consuming and, if resolved adversely, could have a significant impact on our business, financial condition, or results of operations.

Companies in the internet, technology, and media industries own large numbers of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets, and frequently enter into litigation based on allegations of infringement, misappropriation, or other violations of intellectual property or other rights. In addition, various "non-practicing entities" that own patents and other intellectual property rights often attempt to aggressively assert their rights in order to extract value from technology companies. Furthermore, from time to time we may introduce or acquire new products, including in areas where we historically have not competed, which could increase our exposure to patent and other intellectual property claims from competitors and non-practicing entities.

From time to time, we receive notice from patent holders and other parties alleging that certain of our products and services, or user content, infringe their intellectual property rights. We presently are involved in a number of intellectual property lawsuits, and as we face increasing competition and gain an increasingly high profile, we expect the number of patent and other intellectual property claims against us to grow. Defending patent and other intellectual property litigation is costly and can impose a significant burden on management and employees, and there can be no assurances that favorable final outcomes will be obtained in all cases. In addition, plaintiffs may seek, and we may become subject to, preliminary or provisional rulings in the course of any such litigation, including potential preliminary injunctions requiring us to cease some or all of our operations. We may decide to settle such lawsuits and disputes on terms that are unfavorable to us. Similarly, if any litigation to which we are a party is resolved adversely, we may be subject to an unfavorable judgment that may not be reversed upon appeal. The terms of such a settlement or judgment may require us to cease some or all of our operations or pay substantial amounts to the other party. In addition, we may have to seek a license to continue practices found to be in violation of a third party's rights, which may not be available on reasonable terms, or at all, and may significantly increase our operating costs and expenses. As a result, we may also be required to develop alternative non-infringing technology or
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practices or discontinue the practices. The development of alternative non-infringing technology or practices could require significant effort and expense, could result in less effective technology or practices or otherwise negatively affect the user experience, or may not be feasible. We have experienced unfavorable outcomes in such disputes and litigation in the past, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected as a result of an unfavorable resolution of the disputes and litigation referred to above.

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock

The trading price of our Class A common stock has been and will likely continue to be volatile.

The trading price of our Class A common stock has been, and is likely to continue to be, volatile. Since shares of our Class A common stock were sold in our initial public offering in May 2012 at a price of $38.00 per share, our stock price has ranged from $17.55 to $384.33 through December 31, 2021. In addition to the factors discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the trading price of our Class A common stock has in the past fluctuated and may in the future fluctuate significantly in response to numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control, including:

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our revenue and other operating results for either of our reportable segments;

the financial projections we may provide to the public, any changes in these projections, or our failure to meet these projections;

actions of securities analysts who initiate or maintain coverage of us, changes in financial estimates by any securities analysts who follow our company, or our failure to meet these estimates or the expectations of investors;

additional shares of our stock being sold into the market by us, our existing stockholders, or in connection with acquisitions, or the anticipation of such sales;

investor sentiment with respect to our competitors, our business partners, and our industry in general;

announcements by us or our competitors of significant products or features, technical innovations, acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, or capital commitments;

announcements by us or estimates by third parties of actual or anticipated changes in the size of our user base, the level of user engagement, or the effectiveness of our ad products;

changes in operating performance and stock market valuations of technology companies in our industry, including our developers and competitors;

price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market, including as a result of trends in the economy as a whole;

the inclusion, exclusion, or deletion of our stock from any trading indices, such as the S&P 500 Index;

media coverage of our business and financial performance;

lawsuits threatened or filed against us, or developments in pending lawsuits;

adverse government actions or legislative or regulatory developments relating to advertising, competition, content, privacy, or other matters, including interim or final rulings by tax, judicial, or regulatory bodies;

trading activity in our share repurchase program; and

other events or factors, including those resulting from war, incidents of terrorism, pandemics, and other disruptive external events, or responses to these events.

In addition, the stock markets have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have affected and continue to affect the market prices of equity securities of many technology companies. We are currently subject to securities litigation
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in connection with our platform and user data practices and the misuse of certain data by a developer that shared such data with third parties in violation of our terms and policies; the disclosure of our earnings results for the second quarter of 2018; and a former employee's allegations and release of internal company documents beginning in September 2021. We may experience more such litigation following future periods of volatility. Any securities litigation could subject us to substantial costs, divert resources and the attention of management from our business, and adversely affect our business.

We do not intend to pay cash dividends for the foreseeable future.

We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain any future earnings to finance the operation and expansion of our business and fund our share repurchase program, and we do not expect to declare or pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. As a result, you may only receive a return on your investment in our Class A common stock if the trading price of your shares increases.

The dual class structure of our common stock and a voting agreement between certain stockholders have the effect of concentrating voting control with our CEO and certain other holders of our Class B common stock; this will limit or preclude your ability to influence corporate matters.

Our Class B common stock has ten votes per share and our Class A common stock has one vote per share. Stockholders who hold shares of Class B common stock, including certain of our executive officers, employees, and directors and their affiliates, together hold a substantial majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock. Because of the ten-to-one voting ratio between our Class B and Class A common stock, the holders of our Class B common stock collectively control a majority of the combined voting power of our common stock and therefore are able to control all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval so long as the shares of Class B common stock represent at least 9.1% of all outstanding shares of our Class A and Class B common stock. This concentrated control will limit or preclude your ability to influence corporate matters for the foreseeable future.

Transfers by holders of Class B common stock will generally result in those shares converting to Class A common stock, subject to limited exceptions, such as certain transfers effected for estate planning or charitable purposes. The conversion of Class B common stock to Class A common stock will have the effect, over time, of increasing the relative voting power of those holders of Class B common stock who retain their shares in the long term. If, for example, Mr. Zuckerberg retains a significant portion of his holdings of Class B common stock for an extended period of time, he could, in the future, continue to control a majority of the combined voting power of our outstanding capital stock.

Our status as a "controlled company" could make our Class A common stock less attractive to some investors or otherwise harm our stock price.

Because we qualify as a "controlled company" under the corporate governance rules for Nasdaq-listed companies, we are not required to have a majority of our board of directors be independent, nor are we required to have a compensation committee or an independent nominating function. In the future we could elect not to have a majority of our board of directors be independent or not to have a compensation committee or an independent nominating function. Accordingly, should the interests of our controlling stockholder differ from those of other stockholders, the other stockholders may not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance rules for Nasdaq-listed companies. Our status as a controlled company could make our Class A common stock less attractive to some investors or otherwise harm our stock price.

Delaware law and provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws could make a merger, tender offer, or proxy contest difficult, thereby depressing the trading price of our Class A common stock.

Our status as a Delaware corporation and the anti-takeover provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law may discourage, delay, or prevent a change in control by prohibiting us from engaging in a business combination with an interested stockholder for a period of three years after the person becomes an interested stockholder, even if a change of control would be beneficial to our existing stockholders. In addition, our current certificate of incorporation and bylaws contain provisions that may make the acquisition of our company more difficult, including the following:

until the first date on which the outstanding shares of our Class B common stock represent less than 35% of the combined voting power of our common stock, any transaction that would result in a change in control of our
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company requires the approval of a majority of our outstanding Class B common stock voting as a separate class;

we currently have a dual class common stock structure, which provides Mr. Zuckerberg with the ability to control the outcome of matters requiring stockholder approval, even if he owns significantly less than a majority of the shares of our outstanding Class A and Class B common stock;

when the outstanding shares of our Class B common stock represent less than a majority of the combined voting power of common stock, certain amendments to our certificate of incorporation or bylaws will require the approval of two-thirds of the combined vote of our then-outstanding shares of Class A and Class B common stock;

when the outstanding shares of our Class B common stock represent less than a majority of the combined voting power of our common stock, vacancies on our board of directors will be able to be filled only by our board of directors and not by stockholders;

when the outstanding shares of our Class B common stock represent less than a majority of the combined voting power of our common stock, our board of directors will be classified into three classes of directors with staggered three-year terms and directors will only be able to be removed from office for cause;

when the outstanding shares of our Class B common stock represent less than a majority of the combined voting power of our common stock, our stockholders will only be able to take action at a meeting of stockholders and not by written consent;

only our chairman, our chief executive officer, our president, or a majority of our board of directors are authorized to call a special meeting of stockholders;

advance notice procedures apply for stockholders to nominate candidates for election as directors or to bring matters before an annual meeting of stockholders;

our certificate of incorporation authorizes undesignated preferred stock, the terms of which may be established, and shares of which may be issued, without stockholder approval; and

certain litigation against us can only be brought in Delaware.
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Item 1B.Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2.Properties

Our corporate headquarters are located in Menlo Park, California. As of December 31, 2021, we owned and leased approximately 10 million square feet of office and building space for our corporate headquarters and in the surrounding areas, and approximately 69 acres of land to be developed to accommodate anticipated future growth.

In addition, we have offices in more than 80 cities across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. We also own 18 data centers globally.

We believe that our facilities are adequate for our current needs.

Item 3.Legal Proceedings

Beginning on March 20, 2018, multiple putative class actions and derivative actions were filed in state and federal courts in the United States and elsewhere against us and certain of our directors and officers alleging violations of securities laws, breach of fiduciary duties, and other causes of action in connection with our platform and user data practices as well as the misuse of certain data by a developer that shared such data with third parties in violation of our terms and policies, and seeking unspecified damages and injunctive relief. Beginning on July 27, 2018, two putative class actions were filed in federal court in the United States against us and certain of our directors and officers alleging violations of securities laws in connection with the disclosure of our earnings results for the second quarter of 2018 and seeking unspecified damages. These two actions subsequently were transferred and consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California with the putative securities class action described above relating to our platform and user data practices. On September 25, 2019, the district court granted our motion to dismiss the consolidated putative securities class action, with leave to amend. On November 15, 2019, a second amended complaint was filed in the consolidated putative securities class action. On August 7, 2020, the district court granted our motion to dismiss the second amended complaint, with leave to amend. On October 16, 2020, a third amended complaint was filed in the consolidated putative securities class action. On December 20, 2021, the district court granted our motion to dismiss the third amended complaint, with prejudice. On January 17, 2022, the plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal of the order dismissing their case. In addition, our platform and user data practices, as well as the events surrounding the misuse of certain data by a developer, became the subject of U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), state attorneys general, and other government inquiries in the United States, Europe, and other jurisdictions. We entered into a settlement and modified consent order to resolve the FTC inquiry, which took effect in April 2020 and required us to pay a penalty of $5.0 billion and to significantly enhance our practices and processes for privacy compliance and oversight. The state attorneys general inquiry and certain government inquiries in other jurisdictions remain ongoing and could subject us to additional substantial fines and costs, require us to change our business practices, divert resources and the attention of management from our business, or adversely affect our business. On July 16, 2021, a stockholder derivative action was filed in Delaware Chancery Court against certain of our directors and officers asserting breach of fiduciary duty and related claims relating to our historical platform and user data practices, as well as our settlement with the FTC. On July 20, 2021, other stockholders filed an amended derivative complaint in a related Delaware Chancery Court action, asserting breach of fiduciary duty and related claims against certain of our current and former directors and officers in connection with our historical platform and user data practices. On November 4, 2021, the lead plaintiffs filed a second amended and consolidated complaint in the stockholder derivative action. We believe the lawsuits described above are without merit, and we are vigorously defending them.

We also notify the Irish Data Protection Commission (IDPC), our lead European Union privacy regulator under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), of certain other personal data breaches and privacy issues, and are subject to inquiries and investigations by the IDPC and other European regulators regarding various aspects of our regulatory compliance. For example, in August 2020, we received a preliminary draft decision from the IDPC that preliminarily concluded that Meta Platforms Ireland's reliance on Standard Contractual Clauses in respect of European user data does not achieve compliance with the GDPR and preliminarily proposed that such transfers of user data from the European Union to the United States should therefore be suspended. Meta Platforms Ireland challenged procedural aspects of this IDPC inquiry in a judicial review commenced in the Irish High Court in September 2020. On May 14, 2021, the court rejected Meta Platforms Ireland's procedural challenges, and the inquiry subsequently recommenced. We believe a final decision in this
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inquiry may issue as early as the first half of 2022. For additional information, see Part I, Item 1A, "Risk Factors—Our business is subject to complex and evolving U.S. and foreign laws and regulations regarding privacy, data use and data protection, content, competition, safety and consumer protection, e-commerce, and other matters" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Any such inquiries or investigations could subject us to substantial fines and costs, require us to change our business practices, divert resources and the attention of management from our business, or adversely affect our business.

In addition, we are subject to various litigation and government inquiries and investigations, formal or informal, by competition authorities in the United States, Europe, and other jurisdictions. Such investigations, inquiries, and lawsuits concern, among other things, our business practices in the areas of social networking or social media services, digital advertising, and/or mobile or online applications, as well as our acquisitions. For example, in June 2019 we were informed by the FTC that it had opened an antitrust investigation of our company. On December 9, 2020, the FTC filed a complaint against us in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that we engaged in anticompetitive conduct and unfair methods of competition in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act and Section 2 of the Sherman Act, including by acquiring Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 and by maintaining conditions on access to our platform. In addition, beginning in the third quarter of 2019, we became the subject of antitrust investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general. On December 9, 2020, the attorneys general from 46 states, the territory of Guam, and the District of Columbia filed a complaint against us in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that we engaged in anticompetitive conduct in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, including by acquiring Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 and by maintaining conditions on access to our platform. The complaint also alleged that we violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act by acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp. The complaints of the FTC and attorneys general both sought a permanent injunction against our company's alleged violations of the antitrust laws, and other equitable relief, including divestiture or reconstruction of Instagram and WhatsApp. On June 28, 2021, the court granted our motions to dismiss the complaints filed by the FTC and attorneys general, dismissing the FTC's complaint with leave to amend and dismissing the attorneys general's case without prejudice. On July 28, 2021, the attorneys general filed a notice of appeal of the order dismissing their case. On August 19, 2021, the FTC filed an amended complaint, and on October 4, 2021, we filed a motion to dismiss this amended complaint. On January 11, 2022, the court denied our motion to dismiss the FTC's amended complaint. Multiple putative class actions have also been filed in state and federal courts in the United States against us alleging violations of antitrust laws and other causes of action in connection with these acquisitions and other alleged anticompetitive conduct, and seeking damages and unspecified injunctive relief. Several of the cases brought on behalf of certain advertisers and users were consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. On January 14, 2022, the court granted, in part, and denied, in part, our motion to dismiss the consolidated actions. We believe these lawsuits are without merit, and we are vigorously defending them. The result of such litigation, investigations or inquiries could subject us to substantial monetary remedies and costs, interrupt or require us to change our business practices, divert resources and the attention of management from our business, or subject us to other structural or behavioral remedies that adversely affect our business.

We are also subject to other government inquiries and investigations relating to our business activities and disclosure practices. For example, beginning in September 2021, we became subject to government investigations and requests relating to a former employee's allegations and release of internal company documents concerning, among other things, our algorithms, advertising and user metrics, and content enforcement practices, as well as misinformation and other undesirable activity on our platform, and user well-being. Beginning on October 27, 2021, multiple putative class actions were filed in federal court in the United States against us and certain of our directors and officers alleging violations of securities laws in connection with the same matters. We believe these lawsuits are without merit, and we are vigorously defending them.

In addition, we are subject to litigation and other proceedings involving law enforcement and other regulatory agencies, including in particular in Brazil, Russia, and other countries in Europe, in order to ascertain the precise scope of our legal obligations to comply with the requests of those agencies, including our obligation to disclose user information in particular circumstances. A number of such instances have resulted in the assessment of fines and penalties against us. We believe we have multiple legal grounds to satisfy these requests or prevail against associated fines and penalties, and we intend to vigorously defend such fines and penalties.

We are also party to various other legal proceedings, claims, and regulatory, tax or government inquiries and investigations that arise in the ordinary course of business, and we may in the future be subject to additional legal proceedings and disputes.

Item 4.Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.
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PART II

Item 5.Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Market Information for Common Stock

Our Class A common stock has been listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol "FB" since May 18, 2012. Prior to that time, there was no public market for our stock. We expect our Class A common stock to cease trading under the symbol "FB" and begin trading under the new symbol, "META," on the Nasdaq Global Select Market in the first half of 2022.

Our Class B common stock is not listed on any stock exchange nor traded on any public market.

Holders of Record

As of December 31, 2021, there were 3,258 stockholders of record of our Class A common stock, and the closing price of our Class A common stock was $336.35 per share as reported on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Because many of our shares of Class A common stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders, we are unable to estimate the total number of stockholders represented by these record holders. As of December 31, 2021, there were 32 stockholders of record of our Class B common stock.

Dividend Policy

We have never declared or paid any cash dividend on our common stock. We intend to retain any future earnings to finance the operation and expansion of our business and fund our share repurchase program, and we do not expect to pay cash dividends in the foreseeable future.

Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

The following table summarizes the share repurchase activity for the three months ended December 31, 2021:
Total Number of Shares Purchased (1)
Average Price Paid Per Share (2)
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Programs (1)
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs (1)
(in thousands)(in thousands)(in millions)
October 1 - 31, 202121,703 $326.20 21,703 $50,893 
November 1 - 30, 202121,606 $335.09 21,606 $43,653 
December 1 - 31, 202114,728 $329.97 14,728 $38,793 
58,037 58,037 
_________________________
(1)Our board of directors has authorized a share repurchase program of our Class A common stock, which commenced in January 2017 and does not have an expiration date. The timing and actual number of shares repurchased depend on a variety of factors, including price, general business and market conditions, and other investment opportunities, and shares may be repurchased through open market purchases or privately negotiated transactions, including through the use of trading plans intended to qualify under Rule 10b5-1 under the Exchange Act.

(2)Average price paid per share includes costs associated with the repurchases.

Recent Sale of Unregistered Securities and Use of Proceeds

Recent Sale of Unregistered Securities

None.

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Stock Performance Graph

This performance graph shall not be deemed "soliciting material" or to be "filed" with the SEC for purposes of Section 18 of the Exchange Act, or otherwise subject to the liabilities under that Section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any filing of Meta Platforms, Inc. under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act.

The following graph shows a comparison of the cumulative total return for our Class A common stock, the Dow Jones Internet Composite Index (DJINET), the Standard & Poor's 500 Stock Index (S&P 500) and the Nasdaq Composite Index (Nasdaq Composite) for the five years ended December 31, 2021. The graph assumes that $100 was invested at the market close on the last trading day for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016 in the Class A common stock of Meta Platforms, Inc., the DJINET, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite and data for the DJINET, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite assumes reinvestments of gross dividends. The stock price performance of the following graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance.

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Item 6.[Reserved]
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Item 7.Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

You should read the following discussion of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. In addition to our historical consolidated financial information, the following discussion contains forward-looking statements that reflect our plans, estimates, and beliefs. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to these differences include those discussed below and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, particularly in Part I, Item 1A, "Risk Factors." For a discussion of limitations in the measurement of certain of our community metrics, see the section entitled "Limitations of Key Metrics and Other Data" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

To supplement our consolidated financial statements, which are prepared and presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (GAAP), we present revenue on a constant currency basis and free cash flow, which are non-GAAP financial measures. Revenue on a constant currency basis is presented in the section entitled "RevenueForeign Exchange Impact on Revenue." To calculate revenue on a constant currency basis, we translated revenue for the full year 2021 using 2020 monthly exchange rates for our settlement or billing currencies other than the U.S. dollar. For a full description of our free cash flow non-GAAP measure, see the section entitled "Liquidity and Capital Resources—Free Cash Flow."

These non-GAAP financial measures are not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for, or superior to, financial information prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP. These measures may be different from non‑GAAP financial measures used by other companies, limiting their usefulness for comparison purposes. Moreover, presentation of revenue on a constant currency basis is provided for year-over-year comparison purposes, and investors should be cautioned that the effect of changing foreign currency exchange rates has an actual effect on our operating results. We believe these non-GAAP financial measures provide investors with useful supplemental information about the financial performance of our business, enable comparison of financial results between periods where certain items may vary independent of business performance, and allow for greater transparency with respect to key metrics used by management in operating our business.

Executive Overview of Full Year 2021 Results

Our key community metrics and financial results for 2021 are as follows:

Family of Apps metrics:

Family daily active people (DAP) was 2.82 billion on average for December 2021, an increase of 8% year-over-year.
Family monthly active people (MAP) was 3.59 billion as of December 31, 2021, an increase of 9% year-over-year.
Facebook daily active users (DAUs) were 1.93 billion on average for December 2021, an increase of 5% year-over-year.
Facebook monthly active users (MAUs) were 2.91 billion as of December 31, 2021, an increase of 4% year-over-year.
Ad impressions delivered across our Family of Apps increased by 10% year-over-year in 2021, and the average price per ad increased by 24% year-over-year in 2021.

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Consolidated and segment results:

Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2021, we report our financial results based on two reportable segments: Family of Apps (FoA) and Reality Labs (RL). FoA includes Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and other services. RL includes our augmented and virtual reality related consumer hardware, software, and content.

Family of AppsReality LabsTotal
Year Ended December 31,Year-over-Year
% Change
Year Ended December 31,Year-over-Year
% Change
Year Ended December 31,Year-over-Year
% Change
202120202021202020212020
(dollars in millions)
Revenue$115,655 $84,826 36%$2,274 $1,139 100%$117,929 $85,965 37%
Costs and expenses$58,709 $45,532 29%$12,467 $7,762 61%$71,176 $53,294 34%
Income (loss) from operations$56,946 $39,294 45%$(10,193)$(6,623)(54)%$46,753 $32,671 43%
Operating margin49%46%(448)%(581)%40%38%

Net income was $39.37 billion with diluted earnings per share of $13.77 for the year ended December 31, 2021.
Capital expenditures, including principal payments on finance leases, were $19.24 billion for the year ended December 31, 2021.
Effective tax rate was 16.7% for the year ended December 31, 2021.
Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities were $48.0 billion as of December 31, 2021.
Headcount was 71,970 as of December 31, 2021, an increase of 23% year-over-year.

Our mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. All of our products, including our apps, share the vision of helping to bring the metaverse to life.

In 2021, we continued to focus on our main revenue growth priorities: (i) helping marketers use our products to connect with consumers where they are and (ii) making our ads more relevant and effective. We also continued to invest based on the following company priorities: (i) continue making progress on the major social issues facing the internet and our company, including privacy, safety, and security; (ii) build new experiences that meaningfully improve people's lives today and set the stage for even bigger improvements in the future; (iii) keep building our business by supporting the millions of businesses that rely on our services to grow and create jobs; and (iv) communicate more transparently about what we're doing and the role our services play in the world.

Our advertising revenue growth in the second half of 2021 was adversely affected by reduced marketer spending as a result of limitations on our ad targeting and measurement tools arising from changes to the iOS operating system. We expect that future advertising revenue growth will continue to be adversely affected by these and other limitations on our ad targeting and measurement tools arising from changes to the regulatory environment and third-party mobile operating systems and browsers.

Our business and results of operations have also been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the preventative measures implemented by authorities from time to time to help limit the spread of the illness, which have caused, and are continuing to cause, business slowdowns or shutdowns in certain affected countries and regions. Beginning in the first quarter of 2020, we experienced significant increases in the size and engagement of our active user base across a number of regions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. More recently, we have seen these pandemic-related trends subside, particularly in certain developed markets. We are unable to predict the impact of the pandemic on user growth and engagement with any certainty and these trends may continue to be subject to volatility.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a varied impact on the demand for and pricing of our ads from period to period. While we experienced a reduction in demand and a related decline in pricing during the onset of the pandemic, we believe the pandemic subsequently contributed to an acceleration in the growth of online commerce, particularly during the second half of 2020, and we experienced increasing demand for advertising as a result of this trend. More recently, we believe this growth has moderated in many regions, which to some extent adversely affected our advertising revenue growth in the second half of 2021. We may experience reduced advertising demand and related declines in pricing in future periods to the extent this trend continues, which could adversely affect our advertising revenue growth. However, the impact of the
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pandemic on user growth and engagement, the demand for and pricing of our advertising services, as well as on our overall results of operations, remains highly uncertain for the foreseeable future.

User growth and engagement were also impacted by a number of other factors in the second half of 2021. For example, competitive products and services have reduced some users' engagement with our products and services, and in response to competitive pressures, we have introduced new features such as Reels, which is growing in usage but is not currently monetized at the same rate as our feed or Stories products. We also saw a deceleration in our community growth rates as the size of our community continued to increase. In addition, we experienced year-over-year declines in ad impressions delivered in the United States & Canada region. These trends adversely affected advertising revenue growth in the second half of 2021 and we expect will continue to affect our advertising revenue growth in the foreseeable future. Other global and regional business and macroeconomic conditions also have had, and we believe will continue to have, an impact on our user growth and engagement and advertising revenue growth.

We anticipate that additional investments in our data center capacity, servers, network infrastructure, and office facilities, as well as scaling our headcount to support our growth, including in our Reality Labs initiatives, will continue to drive expense growth in 2022. We expect 2022 capital expenditures to be in the range of $29-34 billion and total expenses to be in the range of $90-95 billion. In 2022, we also expect that our year-over-year total expense growth rates may significantly exceed our year-over-year revenue growth rates, which would adversely affect our operating margin and profitability.
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Trends in Our Family Metrics

The numbers for our key Family metrics, our DAP, MAP, and average revenue per person (ARPP), do not include users on our other products unless they would otherwise qualify as DAP or MAP, respectively, based on their other activities on our Family products.

Trends in the number of people in our community affect our revenue and financial results by influencing the number of ads we are able to show, the value of our ads to marketers, the volume of Payments transactions, as well as our expenses and capital expenditures. Substantially all of our daily and monthly active people (as defined below) access our Family products on mobile devices.

Daily Active People (DAP). We define a daily active person as a registered and logged-in user of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and/or WhatsApp (collectively, our "Family" of products) who visited at least one of these Family products through a mobile device application or using a web or mobile browser on a given day. We do not require people to use a common identifier or link their accounts to use multiple products in our Family, and therefore must seek to attribute multiple user accounts within and across products to individual people. Our calculations of DAP rely upon complex techniques, algorithms, and machine learning models that seek to estimate the underlying number of unique people using one or more of these products, including by matching user accounts within an individual product and across multiple products when we believe they are attributable to a single person, and counting such group of accounts as one person. As these techniques and models require significant judgment, are developed based on internal reviews of limited samples of user accounts, and are calibrated against user survey data, there is necessarily some margin of error in our estimates. We view DAP, and DAP as a percentage of MAP, as measures of engagement across our products. For additional information, see the section entitled "Limitations of Key Metrics and Other Data" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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DAP/MAP:78%79%79%79%79%79%79%78%79%

Note: We report the numbers of DAP and MAP as specific amounts, but these numbers are estimates of the numbers of unique people using our products and are subject to statistical variances and errors. While we expect the error margin for these estimates to vary from period to period, we estimate that such margin generally will be approximately 3% of our worldwide MAP. At our scale, it is very difficult to attribute multiple user accounts within and across products to individual people, and it is possible that the actual numbers of unique people using our products may vary significantly from our estimates, potentially beyond our estimated error margins. For additional information, see the section entitled "Limitations of Key Metrics and Other Data" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. In the second quarter of 2020, we updated our Family metrics calculations to reflect recent data from a periodic WhatsApp user survey and to incorporate certain methodology improvements, and we estimate such updates contributed an aggregate of approximately 40 million DAP to our reported worldwide DAP in June 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, we updated our Family metrics calculations to maintain calibration of our models against recent user survey data, and we estimate such update contributed an aggregate of approximately 60 million DAP to our reported worldwide DAP in March 2021.

Worldwide DAP increased 8% to 2.82 billion on average during December 2021 from 2.60 billion during December 2020.

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Monthly Active People (MAP). We define a monthly active person as a registered and logged-in user of one or more Family products who visited at least one of these Family products through a mobile device application or using a web or mobile browser in the last 30 days as of the date of measurement. We do not require people to use a common identifier or link their accounts to use multiple products in our Family, and therefore must seek to attribute multiple user accounts within and across products to individual people. Our calculations of MAP rely upon complex techniques, algorithms, and machine learning models that seek to estimate the underlying number of unique people using one or more of these products, including by matching user accounts within an individual product and across multiple products when we believe they are attributable to a single person, and counting such group of accounts as one person. As these techniques and models require significant judgment, are developed based on internal reviews of limited samples of user accounts, and are calibrated against user survey data, there is necessarily some margin of error in our estimates. We view MAP as a measure of the size of our global active community of people using our products. For additional information, see the section entitled "Limitations of Key Metrics and Other Data" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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Note: We report the numbers of DAP and MAP as specific amounts, but these numbers are estimates of the numbers of unique people using our products and are subject to statistical variances and errors. While we expect the error margin for these estimates to vary from period to period, we estimate that such margin generally will be approximately 3% of our worldwide MAP. At our scale, it is very difficult to attribute multiple user accounts within and across products to individual people, and it is possible that the actual numbers of unique people using our products may vary significantly from our estimates, potentially beyond our estimated error margins. For additional information, see the section entitled "Limitations of Key Metrics and Other Data" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. In the second quarter of 2020, we updated our Family metrics calculations to reflect recent data from a periodic WhatsApp user survey and to incorporate certain methodology improvements, and we estimate such updates contributed an aggregate of approximately 50 million MAP to our reported worldwide MAP in June 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, we updated our Family metrics calculations to maintain calibration of our models against recent user survey data, and we estimate such update contributed an aggregate of approximately 70 million MAP to our reported worldwide MAP in March 2021.

As of December 31, 2021, we had 3.59 billion MAP, an increase of 9% from 3.30 billion as of December 31, 2020.
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Average Revenue Per Person (ARPP). We define ARPP as our total revenue during a given quarter, divided by the average of the number of MAP at the beginning and end of the quarter. While ARPP includes all sources of revenue, the number of MAP used in this calculation only includes users of our Family products as described in the definition of MAP above. We estimate that the share of revenue from users who are not also MAP was not material.

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ARPP:$7.38 $6.03 $6.10 $6.76 $8.62 $7.75 $8.36 $8.18 $9.39 
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Note: Non-advertising revenue includes RL revenue generated from the delivery of consumer hardware products and FoA Other revenue, which consists of net fees we receive from developers using our Payments infrastructure and revenue from various other sources.

Our annual worldwide ARPP in 2021, which represents the sum of quarterly ARPP during such period, was $33.68, an increase of 22% from 2020.


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Trends in Our Facebook User Metrics
The numbers for our key Facebook metrics, our DAUs, MAUs, and average revenue per user (ARPU), do not include users on Instagram, WhatsApp, or our other products, unless they would otherwise qualify as DAUs or MAUs, respectively, based on their other activities on Facebook.
Trends in the number of users affect our revenue and financial results by influencing the number of ads we are able to show, the value of our ads to marketers, the volume of Payments transactions, as well as our expenses and capital expenditures. Substantially all of our daily and monthly active users (as defined below) access Facebook on mobile devices.
Daily Active Users (DAUs). We define a daily active user as a registered and logged-in Facebook user who visited Facebook through our website or a mobile device, or used our Messenger application (and is also a registered Facebook user), on a given day. We view DAUs, and DAUs as a percentage of MAUs, as measures of user engagement on Facebook.
fb-20211231_g7.jpg
DAU/MAU:66%67%66%66%66%66%66%66%66%
fb-20211231_g8.jpg fb-20211231_g9.jpg
DAU/MAU:77%77%77%77%76%75%75%75%74%DAU/MAU:75%75%74%74%74%73%73%73%72%
fb-20211231_g10.jpg fb-20211231_g11.jpg
DAU/MAU:62%62%61%62%62%62%62%63%63%DAU/MAU:65%65%65%65%65%65%65%66%65%

Note: For purposes of reporting DAUs, MAUs, and ARPU by geographic region, Europe includes all users in Russia and Turkey and Rest of World includes all users in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.
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Worldwide DAUs increased 5% to 1.93 billion on average during December 2021 from 1.84 billion during December 2020. Users in India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam represented the top three sources of growth in DAUs during December 2021, relative to the same period in 2020.

Monthly Active Users (MAUs). We define a monthly active user as a registered and logged-in Facebook user who visited Facebook through our website or a mobile device, or used our Messenger application (and is also a registered Facebook user), in the last 30 days as of the date of measurement. MAUs are a measure of the size of our global active user community on Facebook.

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As of December 31, 2021, we had 2.91 billion MAUs, an increase of 4% from December 31, 2020. Users in India, Vietnam, and Bangladesh represented the top three sources of growth in 2021, relative to the same period in 2020.




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Trends in Our Monetization by Facebook User Geography

We calculate our revenue by user geography based on our estimate of the geography in which ad impressions are delivered, virtual and digital goods are purchased, or consumer hardware products are shipped. We define ARPU as our total revenue in a given geography during a given quarter, divided by the average of the number of MAUs in the geography at the beginning and end of the quarter. While ARPU includes all sources of revenue, the number of MAUs used in this calculation only includes users of Facebook and Messenger as described in the definition of MAU above. While the share of revenue from users who are not also Facebook or Messenger MAUs has grown over time, we estimate that revenue from users who are Facebook or Messenger MAUs represents the substantial majority of our total revenue. See "Average Revenue Per Person (ARPP)" above for our estimates of trends in our monetization of our Family products. The geography of our users affects our revenue and financial results because we currently monetize users in different geographies at different average rates. Our revenue and ARPU in regions such as United States & Canada and Europe are relatively higher primarily due to the size and maturity of those online and mobile advertising markets. For example, ARPU in 2021 in the United States & Canada region was more than 12 times higher than in the Asia-Pacific region.
fb-20211231_g17.jpg
ARPU:$8.52 $6.95 $7.05 $7.89 $10.14 $9.27 $10.12 $10.00 $11.57 
fb-20211231_g18.jpgfb-20211231_g19.jpg
ARPU:$41.41 $34.18 $36.49 $39.63 $53.56 $48.03 $53.01 $52.34 $60.57 ARPU:$13.21$10.64$11.03$12.41$16.87$15.49$17.23$16.50 $19.68 
fb-20211231_g20.jpg fb-20211231_g21.jpg
ARPU:$3.57$3.06$2.99$3.67$4.05$3.94$4.16$4.30$4.89ARPU:$2.48$1.99$1.78$2.22$2.77$2.64$3.05$3.14$3.43
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Note: Non-advertising revenue includes RL revenue generated from the delivery of consumer hardware products and FoA Other revenue, which consists of net fees we receive from developers using our Payments infrastructure and revenue from various other sources.
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Our revenue by user geography in the charts above is geographically apportioned based on our estimation of the geographic location of our users when they perform a revenue-generating activity. This allocation differs from our revenue disaggregated by geography disclosure in Note 2 — Revenue in our consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplemental Data" where revenue is geographically apportioned based on the addresses of our customers.

Our annual worldwide ARPU in 2021, which represents the sum of quarterly ARPU during such period, was $40.96, an increase of 28% from 2020. For 2021, ARPU increased by 40% in Rest of World, 35% in Europe, 31% in the United States & Canada, and 26% in Asia‑Pacific, as compared with 2020. In addition, user growth was more rapid in geographies with relatively lower ARPU, such as Asia‑Pacific and Rest of World. We expect that user growth in the future will be primarily concentrated in those regions where ARPU is relatively lower, such that worldwide ARPU may continue to increase at a slower rate relative to ARPU in any geographic region, or potentially decrease even if ARPU increases in each geographic region.


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Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

Our consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The preparation of these consolidated financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, costs and expenses, and related disclosures. On an ongoing basis, we evaluate our estimates and assumptions based on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances. Our actual results could differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.

An accounting policy is deemed to be critical if the nature of the estimates or assumptions is material due to the levels of subjectivity and judgment necessary to account for highly uncertain matters or the susceptibility of such matters to change, and the impact of the estimates and assumptions on our consolidated financial statements is material. We believe that the assumptions and estimates associated with gross vs. net in revenue recognition, valuation of equity investments, income taxes, loss contingencies, and valuation of long-lived assets including goodwill, intangible assets, and property and equipment, and their associated estimated useful lives, when applicable, have the greatest potential impact on our consolidated financial statements. Therefore, we consider these to be our critical accounting policies and estimates. For further information on all of our significant accounting policies, see Note 1 — Summary of Significant Accounting Policies in the accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Gross vs. Net in Revenue Recognition

For revenue generated from arrangements that involve third parties, there is significant judgment in evaluating whether we are the principal, and report revenue on a gross basis, or the agent, and report revenue on a net basis. In this assessment, we consider if we obtain control of the specified goods or services before they are transferred to the customer, as well as other indicators such as the party primarily responsible for fulfillment, inventory risk, and discretion in establishing price. The assessment of whether we are considered the principal or the agent in a transaction could impact our revenue and cost of revenue recognized on the consolidated statements of income.

Valuation of Equity Investments

For our equity securities without readily determinable fair values accounted for using the measurement alternative, determining whether an equity security issued by the same issuer is similar to the equity security we hold may require judgment in (a) assessment of differences in rights and obligations associated with the instruments such as voting rights, distribution rights and preferences, and conversion features, and (b) adjustments to the observable price for differences such as, but not limited to, rights and obligations, control premium, liquidity, or principal or most advantageous markets. In addition, the identification of observable transactions will depend on the timely reporting of these transactions from our investee companies, which may occur in a period subsequent to when the transactions take place. Therefore, our fair value adjustment for these observable transactions may occur in a period subsequent to when the transaction actually occurred. For equity investments, we perform a qualitative assessment at each reporting date to determine whether there are triggering events for impairment. The qualitative assessment considers factors such as, but not limited to, the investee's financial condition and business outlook; industry and sector performance; regulatory, economic or technological environment; operational and financing cash flows; and other relevant events and factors affecting the investee. When indicators of impairment exist, we estimate the fair value of our equity investments using the market approach and/or the income approach and recognize impairment loss in the consolidated statements of income if the estimated fair value is less than the carrying value. Estimating fair value requires judgment and use of estimates such as discount rates, forecast cash flows, holding period, and market data of comparable companies, among others.

Income Taxes

We are subject to income taxes in the United States and numerous foreign jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in determining our provision for income taxes and income tax assets and liabilities, including evaluating uncertainties in the application of accounting principles and complex tax laws.

We recognize tax benefits from uncertain tax positions only if we believe that it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained on examination by the taxing authorities based on the technical merits of the position. These uncertain tax positions include our estimates for transfer pricing that have been developed based upon analyses of appropriate
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arms-length prices. Similarly, our estimates related to uncertain tax positions concerning research and development tax credits are based on an assessment of whether our available documentation corroborating the nature of our activities supporting the tax credits will be sufficient. Although we believe that we have adequately reserved for our uncertain tax positions (including net interest and penalties), we can provide no assurance that the final tax outcome of these matters will not be materially different. We make adjustments to these reserves in accordance with the income tax accounting guidance when facts and circumstances change, such as the closing of a tax audit or the refinement of an estimate. To the extent that the final tax outcome of these matters is different from the amounts recorded, such differences will affect the provision for income taxes in the period in which such determination is made, and could have a material impact on our financial condition and operating results.

Loss Contingencies

We are involved in legal proceedings, claims, and regulatory, tax or government inquiries and investigations that arise in the ordinary course of business. Certain of these matters include speculative claims for substantial or indeterminate amounts of damages. Additionally, we are required to comply with various legal and regulatory obligations around the world, and we regularly become subject to new laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which we operate. The requirements for complying with these obligations may be uncertain and subject to interpretation and enforcement by regulatory and other authorities, and any failure to comply with such obligations could eventually lead to asserted legal or regulatory action. With respect to these matters, asserted and unasserted, we evaluate the associated developments on a regular basis and accrue a liability when we believe that it is both probable that a loss has been incurred and the amount can be reasonably estimated. If we determine there is a reasonable possibility that we may incur a loss and the loss or range of loss can be reasonably estimated, we disclose the possible loss in the accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements to the extent material.

We review the developments in our contingencies that could affect the amount of the provisions that have been previously recorded, and the matters and related reasonably possible losses disclosed. We make adjustments to our provisions and changes to our disclosures accordingly to reflect the merits of our defenses and the impact of negotiations, settlements, regulatory proceedings, rulings, advice of legal counsel, and updated information. Significant judgment is required to determine the probability of loss and the estimated amount of loss, including when and if the probability and estimate has changed for asserted and unasserted matters. Certain factors, in particular, have resulted in significant changes to these estimates and judgments in prior quarters based on updated information available. For example, in certain jurisdictions where we operate, fines and penalties may be the result of new laws and preliminary interpretations regarding the basis of assessing damages, which may make it difficult to estimate what such fines and penalties would amount to if successfully asserted against us. In addition, certain government inquiries and investigations, such as matters before our lead European Union privacy regulator, the IDPC, are subject to review by other regulatory bodies before decisions are finalized, which can lead to significant changes in the outcome of an inquiry. As a result of these and other factors, we reasonably expect that our estimates and judgments with respect to our contingencies may continue to be revised in future quarters.

The ultimate outcome of these matters, such as whether the likelihood of loss is remote, reasonably possible, or probable or if and when the reasonably possible range of loss is estimable, is inherently uncertain. Therefore, if one or more of these matters were resolved against us for amounts in excess of management's estimates of losses, our results of operations and financial condition, including in a particular reporting period in which any such outcome becomes probable and estimable, could be materially adversely affected. See Note 11 — Commitments and Contingencies and Note 14 — Income Taxes of the accompanying notes to our consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" and Part I, Item 3, "Legal Proceedings" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information regarding these contingencies.

Valuation of Long-lived Assets including Goodwill, Intangible Assets, and Property and Equipment and Estimated Useful Lives

We allocate the fair value of purchase consideration to the tangible assets acquired, liabilities assumed, and intangible assets acquired based on their estimated fair values. The excess of the fair value of purchase consideration over the fair values of these identifiable assets and liabilities is recorded as goodwill to reporting units based on the expected benefit from the business combination. Such valuations require management to make significant estimates and assumptions, especially with respect to intangible assets. Significant estimates in valuing certain intangible assets include, but are not limited to, estimated replacement costs and future expected cash flows from acquired users, acquired technology, acquired patents, and trade names from a market participant perspective, useful lives, and discount rates. Management's estimates of fair value are based
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upon assumptions believed to be reasonable, but which are inherently uncertain and unpredictable and, as a result, actual results may differ from estimates. Allocation of purchase consideration to identifiable assets and liabilities affects our amortization expense, as acquired finite-lived intangible assets are amortized over the useful life, whereas any indefinite-lived intangible assets, including goodwill, are not amortized. During the measurement period, which is not to exceed one year from the acquisition date, we may record adjustments to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed, with the corresponding offset to goodwill. Upon the conclusion of the measurement period, any subsequent adjustments are recorded to earnings.

Goodwill is tested for impairment at the reporting unit level annually or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit below its carrying value. We have two reporting units subject to goodwill impairment testing. As of December 31, 2021, no impairment of goodwill has been identified.

Long-lived assets, including property and equipment and finite-lived intangible assets are reviewed for possible impairment whenever events or circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of such assets may not be recoverable. The evaluation is performed at the lowest level for which identifiable cash flows are largely independent of the cash flows of other assets and liabilities. Recoverability of these assets is measured by a comparison of the carrying amounts to the future undiscounted cash flows the assets are expected to generate from the use and eventual disposition. If such review indicates that the carrying amount of property and equipment and intangible assets is not recoverable, the carrying amount of such assets is reduced to fair value. We have not recorded any material impairment charges during the years presented.

The useful lives of our long-lived assets including property and equipment and finite-lived intangible assets are determined by management when those assets are initially recognized and are routinely reviewed for the remaining estimated useful lives. The current estimate of useful lives represents our best estimate based on current facts and circumstances, but may differ from the actual useful lives due to changes in future circumstances such as changes to our business operations, changes in the planned use of assets, and technological advancements. When we change the estimated useful life assumption for any asset, the remaining carrying amount of the asset is accounted for prospectively and depreciated or amortized over the revised estimated useful life.

In connection with our periodic reviews of the estimated useful lives of property and equipment, we extended the estimated average useful lives of our server and network assets category. The effect of the 2021 change was a reduction in depreciation expense of $620 million and an increase in net income of $516 million, or $0.18 per diluted share. The impact from the changes in our estimates was calculated based on the asset bases existing as of the effective dates of the changes and applying the revised useful lives prospectively. See Note 1 — Summary of Significant Accounting Policies in the accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, for additional information regarding changes in the estimated useful lives of our property and equipment.
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Components of Results of Operations

Revenue

Family of Apps (FoA)

Advertising. We generate substantially all of our revenue from advertising. Our advertising revenue is generated by displaying ad products on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and third-party affiliated websites or mobile applications. Marketers pay for ad products either directly or through their relationships with advertising agencies or resellers, based on the number of impressions delivered or the number of actions, such as clicks, taken by users.

We recognize revenue from the display of impression-based ads in the contracted period in which the impressions are delivered. Impressions are considered delivered when an ad is displayed to a user. We recognize revenue from the delivery of action-based ads in the period in which a user takes the action the marketer contracted for. The number of ads we show is subject to methodological changes as we continue to evolve our ads business and the structure of our ads products. We calculate price per ad as total advertising revenue divided by the number of ads delivered, representing the effective price paid per impression by a marketer regardless of their desired objective such as impression or action. For advertising revenue arrangements where we are not the principal, we recognize revenue on a net basis.

Other revenue. Other revenue consists of net fees we receive from developers using our Payments infrastructure and revenue from various other sources.

Reality Labs (RL)

RL revenue is generated from the delivery of consumer hardware products, such as Meta Quest, Facebook Portal, and wearables, and related software and content.

Cost of Revenue and Operating Expenses

Cost of revenue. Our cost of revenue consists primarily of expenses associated with the delivery and distribution of our products. These include expenses related to the operation of our data centers and technical infrastructure, such as depreciation expense from servers, network infrastructure and buildings, as well as payroll and related expenses which include share-based compensation for employees on our operations teams, and energy and bandwidth costs. Cost of revenue also includes costs associated with partner arrangements, including traffic acquisition costs and credit card and other fees related to processing customer transactions; RL cost of products sold; and content costs.

Research and development. Research and development expenses consist primarily of payroll and related expenses which include share-based compensation, facilities-related costs for employees on our engineering and technical teams who are responsible for developing new products as well as improving existing products, and professional services.

Marketing and sales. Marketing and sales expenses consist primarily of marketing and promotional expenses and payroll and related expenses which include share-based compensation for our employees engaged in sales, sales support, marketing, business development, and customer service functions. Our marketing and sales expenses also include professional services such as content reviewers to support our community and product operations.

General and administrative. General and administrative expenses consist primarily of legal-related costs, which include accruals for estimated fines, settlements, or other losses in connection with legal and related matters, as well as other legal fees; payroll and related expenses which include share-based compensation for certain of our executives as well as our legal, finance, human resources, corporate communications and policy, and other administrative employees; other taxes, such as digital services taxes, other tax levies, and gross receipts taxes; and professional services.

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Results of Operations

In this section, we discuss the results of our operations for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. For a discussion of the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to the year ended December 31, 2019, please refer to Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020.

The following table sets forth our consolidated statements of income data (in millions):
Year Ended December 31,
202120202019
Revenue$117,929 $85,965 $70,697 
Costs and expenses: 
Cost of revenue22,649 16,692 12,770 
Research and development24,655 18,447 13,600 
Marketing and sales14,043 11,591 9,876 
General and administrative9,829 6,564 10,465 
Total costs and expenses71,176 53,294 46,711 
Income from operations46,753 32,671 23,986 
Interest and other income, net531 509 826 
Income before provision for income taxes47,284 33,180 24,812 
Provision for income taxes7,914 4,034 6,327 
Net income$39,370 $29,146 $18,485 

The following table sets forth our consolidated statements of income data (as a percentage of revenue)(1):
Year Ended December 31,
202120202019
Revenue100 %100 %100 %
Costs and expenses:
Cost of revenue19 19 18 
Research and development21 21 19 
Marketing and sales12 13 14 
General and administrative15 
Total costs and expenses60 62 66 
Income from operations40 38 34 
Interest and other income, net— 
Income before provision for income taxes40 39 35 
Provision for income taxes
Net income33 %34 %26 %
_________________________
(1)Percentages have been rounded for presentation purposes and may differ from unrounded results.

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Share-based compensation expense included in costs and expenses (in millions):
Year Ended December 31, 
202120202019
Cost of revenue$577 $447 $377 
Research and development7,106 4,918 3,488 
Marketing and sales837 691 569 
General and administrative644 480 402 
Total share-based compensation expense$9,164 $6,536 $4,836 
 

Share-based compensation expense included in costs and expenses (as a percentage of revenue)(1):
 Year Ended December 31,
 202120202019
Cost of revenue— %%%
Research and development
Marketing and sales
General and administrative
Total share-based compensation expense%%%
_________________________
(1)Percentages have been rounded for presentation purposes and may differ from unrounded results.

Revenue

The following table sets forth our revenue by segment. For comparative purposes, amounts in prior periods have been recast:
 Year Ended December 31,
 2021202020192021 vs 2020 % Change2020 vs 2019 % Change
(dollars in millions)
Advertising$114,934 $84,169 $69,655 37 %21 %
Other revenue721 657 541 10 %21 %
Family of Apps115,655 84,826 70,196 36 %21 %
Reality Labs2,274 1,139 501 100 %127 %
Total revenue$117,929 $85,965 $70,697 37 %22 %

Family of Apps

FoA revenue in 2021 increased $30.83 billion, or 36%, compared to 2020. The increase was mostly driven by an increase in advertising revenue.

Advertising

Advertising revenue in 2021 increased $30.76 billion, or 37%, compared to 2020 as a result of increases in both the average price per ad and the number of ads delivered. In 2021, the average price per ad increased by 24%, as compared with a decrease of approximately 10% in 2020. The increase in average price per ad in 2021 was mainly caused by a recovery from declines in advertising demand in the first two quarters of 2020, due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, overall advertising demand increased, as compared to 2020, across our ad products and in all regions in part due to the continued growth of online commerce. In 2021, the number of ads delivered increased by 10%, as compared with an approximate 34% increase in 2020. The increase in the ads delivered in 2021 was driven by increases in users and the number and frequency of ads displayed across our products. We anticipate that future advertising revenue growth will be driven by a combination of price and the number of ads delivered.
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Reality Labs

RL revenue increased $1.14 billion, or 100%, from 2020 to 2021, and $638 million, or 127%, from 2019 to 2020. The increases in both periods were mostly driven by increases in the volume of our consumer hardware products sold.

Revenue Seasonality and Customer Concentration

Revenue is traditionally seasonally strong in the fourth quarter of each year due in part to seasonal holiday demand. We believe that this seasonality in both advertising revenue and RL consumer hardware sales affects our quarterly results, which generally reflect significant growth in revenue between the third and fourth quarters and a decline between the fourth and subsequent first quarters. For instance, our total revenue increased 16%, 31%, and 19% between the third and fourth quarters of 2021, 2020, and 2019, respectively, while total revenue for the first quarters of 2021, 2020, and 2019 declined 7%, 16%, and 11% compared to the fourth quarters of 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively. We note the decline in total revenue in the first quarter of 2020 was exacerbated by the non-seasonal impact of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

No customer represented 10% or more of total revenue during the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020, and 2019.

Foreign Exchange Impact on Revenue

The general weakening of the U.S. dollar relative to certain foreign currencies in the full year 2021 compared to the same period in 2020 had a favorable impact on revenue. If we had translated revenue for the full year 2021 using the prior year's monthly exchange rates for our settlement or billing currencies other than the U.S. dollar, our total revenue and advertising revenue would have been $116.29 billion and $113.31 billion, respectively. Using these constant rates, total revenue and advertising revenue would have been $1.64 billion and $1.62 billion lower than actual total revenue and advertising revenue, respectively, for the full year 2021. Using the same constant rates, full year 2021 total revenue and advertising revenue would have been $30.32 billion and $29.15 billion, respectively, higher than actual total revenue and advertising revenue for the full year 2020.

Cost of revenue
Year Ended December 31,
2021202020192021 vs 2020 % Change2020 vs 2019 % Change
(dollars in millions)
Cost of revenue$22,649 $16,692 $12,770 36 %31%
Percentage of revenue19%19%18%

Cost of revenue in 2021 increased $5.96 billion, or 36%, compared to 2020. The majority of the increase was due to an increase in Reality Labs cost of products sold and an increase in operational expenses related to our data centers and technical infrastructure, partially offset by a decrease in the depreciation growth rate mostly due to increases in the useful lives of servers and network assets. To a lesser extent, costs associated with partner arrangements, including traffic acquisition and payment processing costs, also increased.

See Note 1 — Summary of Significant Accounting Policies in the notes to the consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information regarding changes in the estimated useful lives of our servers and network assets.

In 2022, we anticipate that cost of revenue will increase as we continue to expand our data center capacity and technical infrastructure to support user growth and engagement and the delivery of new products and services, and, to a lesser extent, due to higher content costs.

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Research and development
Year Ended December 31,
2021202020192021 vs 2020 % Change2020 vs 2019 % Change
(dollars in millions)
Research and development$24,655 $18,447 $13,600 34 %36 %
Percentage of revenue21%21%19%
 
Research and development expenses in 2021 increased $6.21 billion, or 34%, compared to 2020. The increase was primarily due to an increase in payroll and related expenses as a result of a 30% growth in employee headcount from December 31, 2020 to December 31, 2021 in engineering and other technical functions supporting our continued investment in our family of products and Reality Labs. To a lesser extent, Realty Labs technology development costs also increased.

In 2022, we plan to continue to hire software engineers and other technical employees, and to increase our investment to support our research and development initiatives in our family of products and in Reality Labs.

Marketing and sales
Year Ended December 31,
2021202020192021 vs 2020 % Change2020 vs 2019 % Change
(dollars in millions)
Marketing and sales$14,043 $11,591 $9,876 21 %17%
Percentage of revenue12%13%14%

Marketing and sales expenses in 2021 increased $2.45 billion, or 21%, compared to 2020. The increase was primarily due to increases in marketing and promotional expenses, payroll and related expenses, and product and community operations expenses. Our payroll and related expenses increased as a result of a 9% increase in employee headcount from December 31, 2020 to December 31, 2021 in our marketing and sales functions.

In 2022, we plan to continue the hiring of marketing and sales employees to support our marketing, sales, and partnership efforts, and we anticipate marketing expenses will increase.

General and administrative
Year Ended December 31,
2021202020192021 vs 2020 % Change2020 vs 2019 % Change
(dollars in millions)
Legal accrual related to FTC settlement$— $— $5,000 NMNM
Other general and administrative9,829 6,564 5,465 50 %20 %
General and administrative$9,829 $6,564 $10,465 50 %(37)%
Percentage of revenue8%8%15%
 

General and administrative expenses in 2021 increased $3.27 billion, or 50%, compared to 2020. The increase was primarily due to increases in legal-related costs and payroll and related expenses. Our payroll and related expenses increased as a result of a 25% increase in employee headcount from December 31, 2020 to December 31, 2021 in our general and administrative functions.

See Note 11 — Commitments and Contingencies in the notes to our consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" and Part I, Item 3, "Legal Proceedings" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information regarding estimated fines, settlements, or other losses in connection with legal-related costs.

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In 2022, we plan to continue to increase general and administrative expenses to support overall company growth. We may also incur significant discrete charges such as legal-related accruals and settlement costs in general and administrative expenses.

Segment profitability

The following table sets forth income (loss) from operations by segment. For comparative purposes, amounts in prior periods have been recast:

Year Ended December 31,
2021202020192021 vs 2020 % Change2020 vs 2019 % Change
(dollars in millions)
Family of Apps$56,946 $39,294 $28,489 45 %38 %
Reality Labs(10,193)(6,623)(4,503)(54)%(47)%
Total income from operations$46,753 $32,671 $23,986 43 %36 %

Family of Apps

FoA income from operations in 2021 increased $17.65 billion, or 45%, compared to 2020. The increase was due to the growth in advertising revenue partially offset by an increase in costs and expenses, the majority of which was due to an increase in payroll and related expenses as a result of higher employee headcount, higher legal-related costs, and increases in costs related to our data centers and technical infrastructure.

FoA income from operations in 2020 increased $10.81 billion, or 38%, compared to 2019. The increase was due to the growth in advertising revenue and a one-time $5.0 billion FTC settlement accrual recorded in 2019, partially offset by an increase in costs and expenses, the majority of which was due to an increase in payroll and related expenses as a result of higher employee headcount, increases in costs related to our data centers and technical infrastructure, and higher marketing and promotional expenses.

Reality Labs

RL loss from operations in 2021 increased $3.57 billion, or 54%, compared to 2020, and in 2020 increased $2.12 billion, or 47%, compared to 2019. The majority of the increases in loss from operations in both periods were driven by increases in payroll and related expenses primarily due to the growth in RL research and development headcount and higher gross losses from increases in volume of consumer hardware sales.

Interest and other income, net
Year Ended December 31,
2021202020192021 vs 2020 % Change2020 vs 2019 % Change
(dollars in millions)
Interest income, net$461 $672 $904 (31)%(26)%
Foreign currency exchange losses, net(140)(129)(105)(9)%(23)%
Other income (expense), net210 (34)27 NMNM
Interest and other income, net$531 $509 $826 %(38)%
 
Interest and other income, net in 2021 increased $22 million, or 4%, compared to 2020. The increase was due to an increase in other income from net unrealized gains recognized for our equity investments, partially offset by a decrease in interest income as a result of lower interest rates compared to 2020.

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Provision for income taxes
Year Ended December 31,
2021202020192021 vs 2020 % Change2020 vs 2019 % Change
(dollars in millions)
Provision for income taxes$7,914 $4,034 $6,327 96 %(36)%
Effective tax rate16.7%12.2%25.5%

Our provision for income taxes in 2021 increased $3.88 billion, or 96%, compared to 2020, primarily due to an increase in income from operations and the effects of the tax election described below.

Our effective tax rate in 2021 increased compared to 2020, mostly due to the effects of the tax election described below and tax effects of a shift in jurisdictional mix of earnings.

In the third quarter of 2020, as part of finalizing our U.S. income tax return, we elected to capitalize and amortize certain research and development expenses for U.S. income tax purposes. As a result, we recorded a total of $1.07 billion income tax benefit for the year ended December 31, 2020.

Effective Tax Rate Items. Our effective tax rate in the future will depend upon the proportion between the following items and income before provision for income taxes: U.S. tax benefits from foreign-derived intangible income, tax effects from share-based compensation, tax effects of integrating intellectual property from acquisitions, settlement of tax contingency items, tax effects of changes in our business, and the effects of changes in tax law.

The accounting for share-based compensation may increase or decrease our effective tax rate based upon the difference between our share-based compensation expense and the deductions taken on our tax return, which depend upon the stock price at the time of employee award vesting. If our stock price remains constant to the January 28, 2022 price, and absent U.S. tax legislation changes and other one-time events, we expect our effective tax rate for the full year 2022 to be similar to the effective tax rate for the full year 2021. This includes the effects of the mandatory capitalization and amortization of research and development expenses starting in 2022, as required by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Tax Act). The mandatory capitalization requirement increases our cash tax liabilities but also decreases our effective tax rate due to increasing the foreign-derived intangible income deduction. If the mandatory capitalization requirement is deferred, our effective tax rate in 2022 could be a few percentage points higher when compared to current law and our cash tax liabilities could be several billion dollars lower.

Integrating intellectual property from acquisitions into our business generally involves intercompany transactions that have the impact of increasing our provision for income taxes. Consequently, our provision for income taxes and our effective tax rate may initially increase in the period of an acquisition and integration. The magnitude of this impact will depend upon the specific type, size, and taxing jurisdictions of the intellectual property as well as the relative contribution to income in subsequent periods.

See Note 14 — Income Taxes in the notes to consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information regarding income tax contingencies.
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Liquidity and Capital Resources

Our principal sources of liquidity are our cash and cash equivalents, marketable securities, and cash generated from operations. Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities consist mostly of cash on deposit with banks, investments in money market funds, investments in U.S. government securities, U.S. government agency securities, and investment grade corporate debt securities. Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities were $48.0 billion as of December 31, 2021, a decrease of $13.96 billion from December 31, 2020. The decrease was primarily due to $44.54 billion for repurchases of our Class A common stock, $19.24 billion for capital expenditures, including principal payments on finance leases, and $5.51 billion of taxes paid related to net share settlement of employee restricted stock units (RSU) awards, offset by $57.68 billion of cash generated from operations for the year ended December 31, 2021.

Cash paid for income taxes was $8.52 billion for the year ended December 31, 2021. As of December 31, 2021, our federal net operating loss carryforward was $10.61 billion and our federal tax credit carryforward was $527 million. We anticipate the utilization of a significant portion of these net operating losses and credits within the next two years.

Our board of directors has authorized a share repurchase program of our Class A common stock, which commenced in January 2017 and does not have an expiration date. In 2021, we repurchased and subsequently retired 136 million shares of our Class A common stock for $44.81 billion. As of December 31, 2021, $38.79 billion remained available and authorized for repurchases.

As of December 31, 2021, $10.61 billion of the $48.0 billion in cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities was held by our foreign subsidiaries. The Tax Act imposed a mandatory transition tax on accumulated foreign earnings and eliminated U.S. taxes on foreign subsidiary distributions. As a result, earnings in foreign jurisdictions are available for distribution to the U.S. without incremental U.S. taxes.

We currently anticipate that our available funds and cash flow from operations will be sufficient to meet our operational cash needs and fund our share repurchase program for at least the next 12 months and thereafter for the foreseeable future.

The following table presents our cash flows (in millions):
Year Ended December 31,
202120202019
Net cash provided by operating activities$57,683 $38,747 $36,314 
Net cash used in investing activities$(7,570)$(30,059)$(19,864)
Net cash used in financing activities$(50,728)$(10,292)$(7,299)

Cash Provided by Operating Activities

Cash provided by operating activities during 2021 mostly consisted of $39.37 billion net income adjusted for certain non-cash items, including $9.16 billion of share-based compensation expense and $7.97 billion of depreciation and amortization. The increase in cash flow from operating activities during 2021 compared to 2020 was primarily due to higher net income as adjusted for certain non-cash items, such as share-based compensation expense and deferred income taxes, partially offset by changes in working capital.

Cash Used in Investing Activities

Cash used in investing activities during 2021 primarily consisted of $18.57 billion of purchases of property and equipment as we continued to invest in data centers, servers, office facilities, and network infrastructure offset by $12.18 billion of net sales and maturities of marketable securities. The decrease in cash used in investing activities during 2021 compared to 2020 was mostly due to decreases in net purchases of marketable securities and equity investments, partially offset by an increase in purchases of property and equipment.

We anticipate making capital expenditures of approximately $29 billion to $34 billion in 2022.

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Cash Used in Financing Activities

Cash used in financing activities during 2021 mostly consisted of $44.54 billion for repurchases of our Class A common stock and $5.51 billion of taxes paid related to net share settlement of RSUs. The increase in cash used in financing activities during 2021 compared to 2020 was mostly due to the increase in repurchases of our Class A common stock.

Free Cash Flow

In addition to other financial measures presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP, we monitor free cash flow (FCF) as a non-GAAP measure to manage our business, make planning decisions, evaluate our performance, and allocate resources. We define FCF as net cash provided by operating activities reduced by net purchases of property and equipment and principal payments on finance leases.

We believe that FCF is one of the key financial indicators of our business performance over the long term and provides useful information regarding how cash provided by operating activities compares to the property and equipment investments required to maintain and grow our business.

We have chosen our definition for FCF because we believe that this methodology can provide useful supplemental information to help investors better understand underlying trends in our business. We use FCF in discussions with our senior management and board of directors.

FCF has limitations as an analytical tool, and you should not consider it in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of other GAAP financial measures, such as net cash provided by operating activities. FCF is not intended to represent our residual cash flow available for discretionary expenses. Some of the limitations of FCF are:

FCF does not reflect our future contractual commitments; and
other companies in our industry present similarly titled measures differently than we do, limiting their usefulness as comparative measures.

Management compensates for the inherent limitations associated with using the FCF measure through disclosure of such limitations, presentation of our financial statements in accordance with GAAP, and reconciliation of FCF to the most directly comparable GAAP measure, net cash provided by operating activities, as presented below.

The following is a reconciliation of FCF to the most comparable GAAP measure, net cash provided by operating activities (in millions):
Year Ended December 31,
202120202019
Net cash provided by operating activities$57,683 $38,747 $36,314 
Less: Purchases of property and equipment(18,567)(15,115)(15,102)
Less: Principal payments on finance leases(677)(604)(552)
Free cash flow$38,439 $23,028 $20,660 

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

As of December 31, 2021, we did not have any off-balance sheet arrangements that are reasonably likely to have a material current or future effect on our financial condition, results of operations, liquidity, capital expenditures, or capital resources.

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Contractual Obligations

Our principal commitments consist mostly of obligations under operating leases and other contractual commitments. Our operating lease obligations mostly include among others, certain of our offices, data centers, colocations and land. Our other contractual commitments are primarily related to our investments in servers, network infrastructure and Reality Labs. The following table summarizes our commitments to settle contractual obligations in cash as of December 31, 2021 (in millions):
Payment Due by Period 
Total
20222023-20242025-2026Thereafter
Operating lease obligations, including imputed interest(1)
$25,410 $1,559 $3,966 $3,837 $16,048 
Finance lease obligations, including imputed interest(1)
2,303 678 603 322 700 
Transition tax payable1,537 — 848 689 — 
Other contractual commitments23,080 14,502 5,426 609 2,543 
Total contractual obligations$52,330 $16,739 $10,843 $5,457 $19,291 
_________________________
(1)Includes variable lease payments that were fixed subsequent to lease commencement or modification.

Additionally, as part of the normal course of business, we may also enter into multi-year agreements to purchase renewable energy that do not specify a fixed or minimum volume commitment or to purchase certain server components that do not specify a fixed or minimum price commitment. These agreements are generally entered into in order to secure either volume or price. Using projected market prices or expected volume consumption, the total estimated spend is approximately $8.06 billion. The ultimate spend under these agreements may vary and will be based on prevailing market prices or actual volume purchased.

Our other liabilities also include $4.40 billion related to the uncertain tax positions as of December 31, 2021. Due to uncertainties in the timing of the completion of tax audits, the timing of the resolution of these positions is uncertain and we are unable to make a reasonably reliable estimate of the timing of payments in individual years beyond 12 months. As a result, this amount is not included in the above contractual obligations table.

Contingencies

We are involved in legal proceedings, claims, and regulatory, tax or government inquiries and investigations. We record a liability when we believe that it is both probable that a liability has been incurred, and that the amount can be reasonably estimated. If we determine there is a reasonable possibility that we may incur a loss and the loss or range of loss can be estimated, we disclose the possible loss in the accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements to the extent material. Significant judgment is required to determine both probability and the estimated amount of loss. Such matters are inherently unpredictable and subject to significant uncertainties, some of which are beyond our control. Should any of these estimates and assumptions change or prove to be incorrect, it could have a material impact on our results of operations, financial position, and cash flows.

See Note 11 — Commitments and Contingencies and Note 14 — Income Taxes in the notes to our consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" and Part I, Item 3, "Legal Proceedings" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information regarding contingencies.

Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements

For further information on recently issued accounting pronouncements, see Note 1 — Summary of Significant Accounting Policies in the accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
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Item 7A.Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

We are exposed to market risks, including changes to foreign currency exchange rates, interest rates, and equity investment risk.

Foreign Currency Exchange Risk

We have foreign currency risks related to our revenue and operating expenses denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, primarily the Euro. Accordingly, changes in exchange rates, and in particular a strengthening of the U.S. dollar, have in the past, and may in the future, negatively affect our revenue and other operating results as expressed in U.S. dollars.

We have experienced and will continue to experience fluctuations in our net income as a result of transaction gains or losses related to revaluing monetary asset and liability balances that are denominated in currencies other than the functional currency of the entities in which they are recorded. At this time, we have not entered into, but in the future we may enter into, derivatives or other financial instruments in an attempt to hedge our foreign currency exchange risk. It is difficult to predict the effect hedging activities would have on our results of operations. Foreign currency losses of $140 million, $129 million, and $105 million were recognized in 2021, 2020, and 2019, respectively, as interest and other income, net in our consolidated statements of income.

Interest Rate Sensitivity

Our exposure to changes in interest rates relates primarily to interest earned and market value on our cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities.

Our cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities consist of cash, certificates of deposit, time deposits, money market funds, U.S. government securities, U.S. government agency securities, and investment grade corporate debt securities. Our investment policy and strategy are focused on preservation of capital and supporting our liquidity requirements. Changes in U.S. interest rates affect the interest earned on our cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities, and the market value of those securities. A hypothetical 100 basis point increase in interest rates would have resulted in a decrease of $714 million and $794 million in the market value of our available-for-sale debt securities as of December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively. Any realized gains or losses resulting from such interest rate changes would only occur if we sold the investments prior to maturity.

Equity Investment Risk

Our equity investments are subject to a wide variety of market-related risks that could have a material impact on the carrying value of our holdings. We continually evaluate our equity investments in privately-held companies.

Our equity investments are investments in equity securities of privately-held companies without readily determinable fair values. We elected to account for most of our equity investments using the measurement alternative, which is cost, less any impairment, adjusted for changes in fair value resulting from observable transactions for identical or similar investments of the same issuer. We perform a qualitative assessment at each reporting date to determine whether there are triggering events for impairment. The qualitative assessment considers factors such as, but not limited to, the investee's financial condition and business outlook; industry and sector performance; economic or technological environment; and other relevant events and factors affecting the investee. Valuations of our equity investments are complex due to the lack of readily available market data and observable transactions. Volatility in the global economic climate and financial markets, including recent and ongoing effects related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which requires significant judgments, could result in a material impairment charge on our equity investments. Equity investments accounted for under the equity method were immaterial as of December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020. Our total equity investments had a carrying value of $6.78 billion and $6.23 billion as of December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively.

For additional information about our equity investments, see Note 1 — Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, Note 5 — Equity Investments, and Note 6 — Fair Value Measurements in the notes to the consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" and Part II, Item 7, "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations — Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates" contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
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Item 8.Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

META PLATFORMS, INC.
 
INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
 


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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Stockholders and the Board of Directors of Meta Platforms, Inc.

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Meta Platforms, Inc. (the Company) as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, the related consolidated statements of income, comprehensive income, stockholders' equity and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2021, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the "consolidated financial statements"). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company at December 31, 2021 and 2020, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2021, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 framework), and our report dated February 2, 2022 expressed an unqualified opinion thereon.

Basis for Opinion

These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company's financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Critical Audit Matters
The critical audit matters communicated below are matters arising from the current period audit of the financial statements that were communicated or required to be communicated to the Audit & Risk Oversight Committee and that: (1) relate to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matters below, providing separate opinions on the critical audit matters or on the accounts or disclosures to which they relate.
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Loss Contingencies
Description of the Matter
As described in Note 11 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company is party to various legal proceedings, claims, and regulatory or government inquiries and investigations. The Company accrues a liability when it believes a loss is probable and the amount can be reasonably estimated. In addition, the Company believes it is reasonably possible that it will incur a loss in some of these cases, actions or inquiries described above. When applicable, the Company discloses an estimate of the amount of loss or range of possible loss that may be incurred. However, for certain other matters, the Company discloses that the amount of such losses or a range of possible losses cannot be reasonably estimated at this time.
Auditing the Company's accounting for, and disclosure of, these loss contingencies was especially challenging due to the significant judgment required to evaluate management's assessments of the likelihood of a loss, and their estimate of the potential amount or range of such losses.
How We Addressed the Matter in Our Audit
We obtained an understanding, evaluated the design and tested the operating effectiveness of controls over the identification and evaluation of these matters, including controls relating to the Company's assessment of the likelihood that a loss will be realized and their ability to reasonably estimate the potential range of possible losses.
To test the Company's assessment of the probability of incurrence of a loss, whether the loss was reasonably estimable, and the conclusion and disclosure regarding any range of possible losses, including when the Company believes it cannot be reasonably estimated at this time, we read the minutes or a summary of the meetings of the committees of the board of directors, read the proceedings, claims, and regulatory, or government inquiries and investigations, or summaries as we deemed appropriate, requested and received internal and external legal counsel confirmation letters, met with internal and external legal counsel to discuss the nature of the various matters, and obtained representations from management. We also evaluated the appropriateness of the related disclosures included in Note 11 to the consolidated financial statements.
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Uncertain Tax Positions
Description of the Matter
As discussed in Note 14 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company has received certain notices from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) related to transfer pricing agreements with the Company's foreign subsidiaries for certain periods examined. The IRS has stated that it will also apply its position to tax years subsequent to those examined. If the IRS prevails in its position, it could result in an additional federal tax liability, plus interest and any penalties asserted. The Company uses judgment to (1) determine whether a tax position's technical merits are more-likely-than-not to be sustained and (2) measure the amount of tax benefit that qualifies for recognition.
Auditing the Company's accounting for, and disclosure of, these uncertain tax positions was especially challenging due to the significant judgment required to assess management's evaluation of technical merits and the measurement of the tax position based on interpretations of tax laws and legal rulings.
How We Addressed the Matter in Our Audit
We obtained an understanding, evaluated the design and tested the operating effectiveness of controls over the Company's process to assess the technical merits of tax positions related to these transfer pricing agreements and to measure the benefit of those tax positions.
As part of our audit procedures over the Company's accounting for these positions, we involved our tax professionals to assist with our assessment of the technical merits of the Company's tax positions. This included assessing the Company's correspondence with the relevant tax authorities, evaluating income tax opinions or other third-party advice obtained by the Company, and requesting and receiving confirmation letters from third-party advisors. We also used our knowledge of, and experience with, the application of international and local income tax laws by the relevant income tax authorities to evaluate the Company's accounting for those tax positions. We analyzed the Company's assumptions and data used to determine the amount of the federal tax liability recognized and tested the mathematical accuracy of the underlying data and calculations. We also evaluated the appropriateness of the related disclosures included in Note 14 to the consolidated financial statements in relation to these matters.


/s/ Ernst & Young LLP
We have served as the Company's auditor since 2007.
Redwood City, California
February 2, 2022
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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Stockholders and the Board of Directors of Meta Platforms, Inc.

Opinion on Internal Control over Financial Reporting

We have audited Meta Platforms, Inc.'s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 framework) (the COSO criteria). In our opinion, Meta Platforms, Inc. (the Company) mai