Facebook has been bent on copying Snapchat ever since the social media giant tried unsuccessfully in 2013 to buy what was then an ephemeral photo-messaging app.

Now, the company behind Snapchat is hoping to copy some of its larger rival's own practices, at least with respect to courting new users and, with them, advertisers.

But it's not going so well.

On Wednesday, Snap Inc. announced a massive loss and a continued slowdown in user growth, while revenue fell below Wall Street's expectations in its first earnings report as a public company. Just a week earlier, Facebook posted double-digit revenue growth for the first quarter much as it has consistently since its initial public offering in 2012.

Snapchat reported 166 million daily active users in the latest quarter, an increase of just 36 percent from a year earlier. In its first post-IPO report in 2012, Facebook also disappointed investors when its daily user base grew by only 32 percent. But at that point, Facebook had 552 million regular users, more than three times as many as Snapchat.

Almost $2 billion of Snap's $2.2 billion loss in the January-March period involved stock compensation costs related to the company's initial offering. Facebook had similar costs of roughly $1.3 billion.

But Facebook's revenue was $1.18 billion in its first quarter as a public company. Although Snap's revenue nearly quadrupled in the latest quarter, it only rose to $150 million. And that still undershot the $158 million analysts polled by FactSet had expected.

Snap's stock fell $5.50, or 24 percent, to $17.48 in after-hours trading.

Growth in Snapchat's user base began to slow down last year after Facebook's Instagram copied Snapchat's "stories" feature, which lets users post short video clips that disappear after 24 hours. Not to miss out on the trend, Facebook also launched disappearing stories this year.

And let's not forget about WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service that came out with "status," which lets people post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours.

ABC News