Published: Thu, February 01, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Wayne Curry

Facebook users are spending less time on the site, stock falls 5%

Facebook users are spending less time on the site, stock falls 5%

Facebook's profits soared 61% spurred by by growth in mobile users at the end of last year, the company announced Wednesday, as co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said 2017 had been one of the company's more hard years as a public company.

Facebook announced this week that it is fighting misinformation on user's news feeds by favoring local news over national news.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made it his 2018 goal to fix the issues that have plagued the 14-year-old social media giant over the last several months. If a story is from a publisher in your area, and you either follow the publisher's Page or your friend shares a story from that outlet, it might show up higher in News Feed.

We identify local publishers as those whose links are clicked on by readers in a tight geographic area. "But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable", he wrote. A recent change to Facebook's algorithm that prioritizes content from friends and family over content produced by businesses effectively cut off the news feed as an organic distribution channel for publishers. Its total user growth was up 14 percent over the same period past year, to 2.13 billion users, about what was expected. That said, small news outlets may benefit from this change more than other outlets, because they tend to have a concentrated readership in one location. In December, the company admitted that the site can be bad for users who are merely consuming information but not interacting with family and friends.

"Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people's time is well spent", Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

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"Local news helps build community - both on and offline".

Some analysts reckon declines in user growth and engagement are driven by people's frustration with their experience on Facebook, rather than Zuckerberg's changes.

To start, this change is taking effect in the U.S., and we plan to expand to more countries this year.

We've worked closely with local publishers through the Facebook Journalism Project over the a year ago, visiting newsrooms around the world to provide training and support for journalists, as well as building products that work for their publications and readers. In 2016, ad revenue for the newspaper industry, was about $18 billion, a decrease of 10 percent compared to the previous year, according to the center's annual report about the state of the news media.

The company on Wednesday reported that it grew its revenue by 47 percent to almost $13 billion during the fourth quarter.

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