Meta Says Apple’s Privacy Changes Could Cost the Company $10 Billion

Snap, the maker of the Snapchat app and the augmented reality glasses Spectacles, said during its third-quarter earnings report in October that Apple’s privacy changes were having an unexpected impact on its business. But the company is adapting, Snap said in its fourth-quarter earnings report on Thursday, and the biggest impacts from Apple’s change may be behind it.

What Is the Metaverse, and Why Does It Matter?

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The origins. The word “metaverse” describes a fully realized digital world that exists beyond the one in which we live. It was coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” and the concept was further explored by Ernest Cline in his novel “Ready Player One.”

The future. Many people in tech believe the metaverse will herald an era in which our virtual lives will play as important a role as our physical realities. Some experts warn that it could still turn out to be a fad or even dangerous.

“We are making solid progress,” said Jeremi Gorman, Snap’s chief business officer. The company offers its own measurement tools to advertisers to gauge the impact of their ads, and those tools are now used by more than 75 percent of its direct-response advertisers, Ms. Gorman said.

In its earnings report, Snap said that it had exceeded analyst expectations for revenue and user growth. In the last three months of 2021, Snap’s revenue was $1.3 billion, a 42 percent increase from the same period a year ago. Daily active users grew to 319 million, a 20 percent increase. The company profit was $22.5 million.

Snap’s share price rebounded after the news, shooting up more than 50 percent in after-hours trading on Thursday.

In the last three months of the year, Pinterest’s revenue increased to $847 million, up 20 percent from the same period a year ago, the company said on Thursday. Its profit was $175 million, a 16 percent drop from 2020. Pinterest’s share price was up 29 percent in after-hours trading.

In the past, Twitter has said that Apple’s privacy push caused minimal disruptions to its business because much of its advertising came from brand awareness campaigns and large events, like the Olympics, rather than targeted advertising. Twitter is set to report its fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 10.

But Apple, which reported its fourth-quarter earnings last week, indicated that privacy was profitable. Despite supply chain disruptions, Apple said that sales of iPhones totaled $71.6 billion, up 9 percent from a year earlier. The smartphone maker reported an 11 percent increase in revenue and a 20 percent jump in profit.