Mark Zuckerberg says spending reduction time on Facebook is a good thing — for now

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pronounced something startling on Wednesday when a association reported a fourth entertain gain results: Users are spending reduction time on a amicable network — and that’s a good thing.

Zuckerberg pronounced that users spent 50 million hours less, per day, regulating a amicable network final entertain than a prior quarter. Those 50 million hours amounted to a 5 percent diminution in time spent on a app.

In early January, Zuckerberg warned people that a diminution was coming as a outcome of changes Facebook was creation to a News Feed algorithm, a preference by Facebook to uncover users some-more posts from friends and family, and fewer posts from publishers.

But those changes came after Facebook’s Q4 was in a books. Which means they can’t be used to explain a 5 percent diminution Facebook reported Wednesday.

So if a diminution wasn’t caused by a News Feed algorithm, what caused it? Fewer viral videos, Zuckerberg says, adding that it’s all partial of Facebook’s goal to safeguard people are spending peculiarity time on a network, not only passively scrolling.

Here’s how he described it on a call.

“On a final gain call, we pronounced that video finished good can move people together. But too mostly today, examination video is only a pacifist experience. To change that balance, we pronounced that we were going to concentration on vides that inspire suggestive amicable interactions. So in Q4 we updated out video recommendations and done other peculiarity changes to simulate these values.”

In other words: Facebook claims a product improvements are meant to diminution a volume of time people spend on a network. The wish is that by doing so, Facebook will urge a peculiarity of a time those users do spend.

This diminution in time spent will expected continue. When Facebook denounced a News Feed changes progressing this month, Zuckerberg pronounced that a changes would expected meant “the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of rendezvous will go down.”

The concern, of course, is that Facebook’s business will humour as a result. Virtually all of Facebook’s income comes from advertising, and a some-more time people spend on a site, a some-more ads they will see. (The opposite to this: Fewer ads means aloft demand, and it’s probable aloft ad prices, that could equivalent fewer ads. We don’t know yet.)

In possibly instance, Zuckerberg says he’s not worried.

“Let me be clear: Helping people bond is some-more critical than maximizing a time they spend on Facebook,” he said, after adding that some-more “meaningful interactions” are a pivotal here. “We consider that that’s going to be positive. We consider it’ll assistance make a village stronger over a prolonged term, and we consider it’ll be good for a business over a prolonged term.”

The other concerning partial of Facebook’s gain news was that a company’s user bottom in a U.S. and Canada shrunk for a initial time ever in Q4. The association reported 184 million daily users for a final 3 months of a year, down from 185 million in Q3.

Yes, it’s a tiny change. But it’s a regard deliberation a U.S. and Canada is by distant Facebook’s many profitable market. Each monthly active user in that segment brought in roughly $27 in income for a association final quarter.

It’s still not wholly transparent what caused a decline. CFO Dave Wehner attributed it to “product peculiarity changes,” and when asked to elaborate after on a call, Wehner declined.

But Facebook still soothed concerns about a diminution with investors. Wehner simplified that a diminution wasn’t even a million users — 700,000 in total, he pronounced — before adding that he “don’t see this as an ongoing trend.”

It was about this time that Facebook’s batch done a u-turn. It eventually finished a call trade adult tighten to 2 percent after being down some-more than 4 percent in early after-hours trading.

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