Mark Zuckerberg just lost almost $16 billion in one day

Facebook lost more than $100 billion US in market capitalization in early trading Thursday

And in the view of BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield, Facebook is making an investment that will pay off down the road. Facebook saw a decline in Europe to 279 million daily users.

For founder Mark Zuckerberg, the loss came to nearly $16 billion, according to Forbes, which tracks billionaire wealth in real time.

Last quarter, Facebook also was undermined by the reaction to its involvement with Cambridge Analytica, the third-party developer accused of mishandling data on up to 87 million Facebook users and using it to help target ads for political campaigns in the USA and the U.K. The social network had to rewrite its playbook for working with developers and audit hundreds of developers to a account for any data it shared in the past.

Wall Street, though, had largely looked past the issues, preferring to focus on the company's rapacious appetite for growth.

The plummeting stock price wiped out as much as $150 billion in market capitalization and erased the stock's gains since April when Facebook announced a surprisingly strong 63 per cent rise in profit and an increase in users.

It was the company's worst trading day since going public in 2012, and among the biggest one-day losses of market value in USA stock market history. But Facebook said that the drop in users was consistent with the previous quarter's outlook and did not say if it expected the decline to last.

"Although the Facebook platform is beginning to see slowing growth, the company's other products are still seeing dramatic growth", says Michael Pachter of Wedbush.

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The company reported its second-quarter earnings after the bell on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, investors have also raised concerns that Facebook has reached the limit of how much advertising it can show in its news feed, before finding other places that are as effective to advertise.

"GDPR has not had a significant (ad) revenue impact, but we also recognize it wasn't fully rolled out this quarter", said Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on a call with analysts, adding the company recognizes there could be more risk for decreased numbers in the Europe in the future. If the sell-off hits those levels in Thursday trading, it will mark one the largest collapses in value ever suffered by a US -traded company in a day.

"Looking ahead, we will continue to invest heavily in security and privacy because we have a responsibility to keep people safe", Zuckerberg said. It went into effect in May and gives Europeans more control over their personal data.

Net income was $5.11 billion, or $1.74 a share, beating analysts' estimate of $1.71 a share.

After these events, several senior leaders have departed Facebook, including a board director, its chief information security officer, and its vice president of communications, marketing and public policy.

Facebook is now gearing up to face one of its biggest tests to date: ensuring that no one meddles in the 2018 midterm elections through the social network.

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