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Business

Zuckerberg sugarcoats Facebook flop

Facebook's CEO has dismissed the company's sliding post-IPO stock prices in his first public address since the company floated. Mark Zuckerberg said "it's not like this is the first up and down that we've ever had."

Facebook's tumbling stock crept back above the $20 (15.55 euro) mark in after-hours trading overnight Tuesday, buoyed by the first public appearance from company founder Mark Zuckerberg since the company floated on Wall Street on May 18.

Zuckerberg said that the lackluster showing of Facebook shares after the record-breaking initial public offering (IPO) would not change the direction of the social networking company.

A handout photograph made available by Facebook showing Facebook Founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (C) is flanked by Robert Greifeld (2-R), CEO of the Nasdaq-OMX Stock Market, and Sheryl Sandberg (C-L), Chief Operating Officer as he rings the Nasdaq's opening bell from the Facebook Headquarters from Menlo Park, California, USA, 18 May 2012.

Facebook's record IPO was followed by a surprisingly sharp dip in share prices

"The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing and we care about our shareholders," Zuckerberg said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. "It's not like this is the first up and down that we've ever had."

Zuckerberg sought to reassure investors on Facebook's current problems with advertising revenue on the mobile market, saying that over time, "we're going to be making more money on mobile than we make on desktop."

More and more people use Internet-enabled cell phones to access their Facebook accounts, but the pared-down browsers such devices use often lead to the adverts - Facebook's prime source of revenue - not being displayed.

"Now we are a mobile company," Zuckerberg said, also calling Facebook "mission-driven."

"We're going to execute this mission about making the world more connected," the 28-year-old said of his company, whose shares were trading at $38 - almost double their current price - when Facebook hit the markets in May. At the time, Facebook became the first US company to debut on the stock markets with a total paper value of over $100 billion.

Zuckerberg appeared in typically casual dress at the tech conference in San Francisco, with the event itself described as a "fireside chat."

msh/jm (AFP, AP)