2016 and 2017 have been critical years for Facebook. From Russia-linked ads to fake news, the list of misfortunes for the social networking giant have been mounting.
On 1 February, Mark Zuckerberg announced changes in the NewsFeed which would ensure that Facebook users would see more content from their friends and family and less so from publishers. The idea behind this move, claimed Zuckerberg, was to ensure that people got value for the time they spend on Facebook.
While Zuckerberg's intentions sound noble, it has already started showing the after-effects of this new change. According to latest reports, people are spending 50 million fewer hours on Facebook per day after these NewsFeed changes. Facebook is seeing a decline in the amount of time spent on its platform.
Speaking to the analysts on a conference call Zuckerberg said, "Let me be clear: Helping people connect is more important than maximising the time they spend on Facebook."
Rather than focussing on news and viral videos, according to him, it has become necessary for people to interact among themselves. "Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people's time is well spent. In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day."
The shift from meaningful content to meaningful interactions, according to Zuckerberg is necessary since content had moved to that of a divisive nature.
Facebook wants to ensure that its users are spending time on meaningful interactions, trusted news publishers and local news.
Zuckerberg also acknowledged the abuse that has been seen on Facebook. "We've seen abuse on our platform — including interference from nation states, the spread of news that is false, sensational and polarising — and debate about the utility of social media," he said. He promised that he will work to ensure that only the good is amplified and the harm is prevented.
The quarterly earnings of Facebook are here. And despite the last minute changes on NewsFeed, it has least affected its revenues. So much so, that its revenue have beaten analyst estimates.
Facebook has reported $12.97 bn in sales during Q4 2017 which beat Wall Street expectations of $12.55 bn. Facebook's user numbers have also risen by 14 percent from 1.86 bn users it had around this time last year.
According to a previous report, Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg seemed optimistic from the ad revenues garnered from Facebook and Instagram Stories.
Updated Date: Feb 01, 2018 11:22 AM