Facebook tweaks news feed to prioritize local news

Facebook tweaks news feed to prioritize local news

Kenneth Drake
February 1, 2018

People are spending less time on Facebook - and CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims that's by design. Now his fixes may be causing new problems for the stock.

"I think that the reduction of 50 million hours per day is spooking investors".

Mark Zuckerberg warned in January that radical changes he's making to return Facebook to its roots of connecting friends and family would curtail how much time people spend there.

In January, Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser told USA TODAY his analysis of recent Nielsen data showed use of Facebook declined in August and September.

The social network also worked with local news publishers through the Facebook Journalism Project in the past year. Its popularity in the USA appears to have waned, though, with a decline from 185 million to 184 million daily domestic users from last quarter.

The $13 billion in sales wasn't enough to satiate Wall Street, however, with shares of Facebook falling more than 4 percent after hours to below $180 a share.

The update to the news feed is rolling out only to the USA for now, but Facebook said it will expand the changes to other countries later this year. In particular, Zuckerberg targeted videos and articles that users consume passively, without commenting or sharing.

Liverpool handed lucky boost before West Brom FA Cup game
West Bromwich Albion: Foster; Dawson, Hegazi, McAuley, Gibbs; Phillips, Jacob, Livermore, McClean; Rodriguez, Rondon. Jurgen Klopp has appeared to rule out Liverpool FC entering the transfer market for a second time in January.

The company's share price fell close to 5% in after hours trading even as Facebook announced figures for the last three months of 2017 that were broadly in line with analysts' expectations.

Facebook reported revenue of $12.97 billion, beating the consensus estimate of $12.5 billion and up 47% from the year-ago period. It has 1.4 billion daily active users, up 14 percent year-over-year, and 2.13 billion monthly active users, also up 14 percent year-over-year.

Facebook Inc. has more changes in store for news feed as part of its ongoing efforts to make Facebook less awful for mental health.

"Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people's time is well spent".

Mr Zuckerberg has previously pledged that the firm would invest more in security, among other initiatives, warning those moves could impact profitability.

But the comment underscores the hard situation Facebook finds itself in, as its social network has come under fire for spreading misinformation and propaganda, as well as for incentivizing consumers to spend too much time on its site.