Mark Zuckerberg pleads for patience at inaugural Facebook shareholders meeting

Those who own a part of Facebook gathered Tuesday at the company’s shareholders meeting to ask about the future of the company, the direction of Facebook’s stock value, as well as other concerns. Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed concerns about the company’s stock, asking for patience from shareholders who bought stock during the company’s initial public offering (IPO).

Several of the investors who spoke at Tuesday’s inaugural shareholders meeting were unhappy with the way that Facebook’s stock has performed since launching at $38 per share.

Here’s how Facebook’s stock has performed in the last year, courtesy of Google Finance. It has been a rollercoaster ride since the IPO, and shareholders let Facebook know Tuesday that they aren’t happy about it.

Zuckerberg (as well as Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg) tried to calm investors down. He understood their frustrations, noting that it’s a feeling shared by the company, and urged shareholders to remain patient:

We understand that a lot of people are disappointed in the performance of the stock, and we really are, too. It’s our job here to build a great company that’s going to not only achieve the mission but also be a great financial return for all of our shareholders, and we take that responsibility really seriously. We’re disappointed with the performance of the stock over the last year.

The real question is, “What are we going to do about it?” We’ve always taken a pretty long-term view of this. It’s taken us more than 9 years to build out the network to the point where it’s at right now. We expect that there are going to be fluctuations in how the public thinks that we’re doing. We think that as long as we stay focused on the strategy of building a network and getting more people to use Facebook (and more than 200 million people have joined in the last year) … we think that over time, we’re building an asset and a network that’s increasingly valuable in the world. We believe that in the long term, we will generate the most value for shareholders by doing that.

Shareholders’ frustration was palpable. Some discussed how they bought large portions of stock when the company went public, only to see it dip to roughly half its value before building back up. Zuckerberg noted that the company has been trying new ways to gain revenue, but these things take time and won’t make the company instantly more valuable.

Even as some investors asked for advice on what to do with their shares, Zuckerberg advised shareholders to be patient as plans come to fruition.

Facebook is growing in leaps in bounds in terms of mobile, as Zuckerberg noted that roughly 30 percent of the company’s revenue comes from its mobile applications, compared to basically nothing at this time last year. As more and more users around the world start using Facebook’s mobile apps, and advertising becomes more mobile-friendly, that number will likely rise.