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During a conference call with analysts, Facebook CFO David Wehner said sales growth may decline as the company prioritizes new formats like Stories and offers users "more choice around privacy".

Facebook shares have increased 23 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has increased 6.5 percent. The company's shares also took a sharp hit in the days following the revelation that Cambridge Analytica had illegitimately gained access to the personal data of tens of millions of the company's users.

Facebook's tally of second-quarter global daily active users, a key metric for tracking user engagement, rose 11% to 1.47 billion.

"They're talking about currency headwinds, but more we think it's due to slower user growth given GDPR and more focus on privacy", Morningstar analyst Ali Mogharabi said. Weak daily and monthly user growth will definitely be a big concern for Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and we feel that Instagram is going to be feeling the weight of this pressure very soon in an effort to boost the company's earnings.

According to marketing agency Merkle, ad impressions on Instagram have also grown significantly, more than tripling year-over-year during the second quarter, with ad spending up 177% year-over-year among the agency's North America clients.

Facebook Inc saw the first signs of user disenchantment in the midst of public scandals over privacy and content, with second-quarter revenue and average daily visitors missing analysts' projections. User growth - both on a monthly and daily basis - was flat in the US and the rest of North America, while it declined slightly in Europe.

While Zuckerberg has vowed to address the problems through major changes to its business practices and investments in new resources, analysts that cover the stock have maintained a positive outlook, insisting that it would essentially be business as usual for Facebook's lucrative advertising operations.

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Facebook's shares recovered somewhat after the call.

Facebook's revenue grew at its slowest pace in nearly three years.

Executives warned that revenue growth would slow and expenses would rise. In terms of revenue, the tech giant earned $13.23 billion but missed Thomson Reuters' estimates of $13.36 billion. That same number fell in Europe, where the company has had to comply with a strict new privacy law, known as GDPR, the Washington Post reported.

The threat of additional privacy regulatory setbacks remains a concern, according to analysts. Facebook disrupted some business by putting in place new rules to get all political advertisers to verify their identities.

Almost all social media services have received greater scrutiny since United States intelligence agencies in January 2017 revealed that organisations tied to the Russian government had seeded content on the platform to shake up the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Strong ad sales from Google, which is Facebook's main competitor for online advertising, had sent expectations for the social network's earnings up, along with its stock price.