And yet its stock price has shot up.

Operating Losses

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg apparently lost a flabbergasting $14 billion — yes, that's a"billion" with a "b" — dollars last year on his metaverse moonshot.

In its quarterly earnings report to investors, Meta, which is better known as Facebook to normal people, reported a loss of $13.7 billion dollars in 2022 alone on its Reality Labs division, which oversees the company's controversial metaverse. Combined with 2021's $10.19 billion dollar loss, that brings the amount of money Zuckerberg has spent on building his cartoonish, legless metaverse to just under $23 billion.

Comparatively, the Reality Labs division only brought in $2.16 billion in revenue for 2022, which is down from its 2021 gains of $2.27 and accounts for less than two percent of all of Meta's earnings last year, per CNBC's analysis.

As that report notes, Zuckerberg said last year that he expects even greater operating losses in 2023 and that those losses "will grow significantly year-over-year."

"Beyond 2023," the CEO told the financial news outfit last summer, "we expect to pace Reality Labs investments such that we can achieve our goal of growing overall company operating income in the long run."

Wall Street Surprise

As one might imagine, investors historically haven't loved Zuckerberg's cavalier attitude with their money — though as markets reporting indicates, the revenue gleaned from all of Meta's operations holistically has resulted in a stock bump that's acted as a balm to the company's bruising metaverse efforts.

Indeed, MarketWatch reports that analysts expected about $31.5 billion in fourth-quarter Meta earnings, and after Wednesday's earnings report indicated that it had beaten that out by nearly a billion, the company's share cost jumped 20 percent.

Overall, it seems that in spite of losing a boatload of money for a product that still sucks, the markets are reacting favorably to Zuckerberg's metaverse dreams. But then again, both Wall Street and Silicon Valley do love an expensive fantasy.

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