Facebook Still Earning Hoards Of Cash Despite Users’ Spending Less Time On Site

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Facebook’s quarterly profit increased, while the amount of time users spent on the platform decreased, potentially showing that the social media company’s recent changes to its News Feed wasn’t that detrimental.

During an earnings report Wednesday, Facebook said its fourth quarter profit surged 61 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal. The corporation’s stock took a brief dip during after-hour trading, but then shot right back up. There was also a 700,000 daily user dip in the U.S. and Canada. But Facebook continued to expand globally with 33 million more users elsewhere around the world.

Some worried that Facebook’s modifications to its arguably most integral feature, specifically for news aggregating, would dissuade advertisers from spending more money to promote or market content. The primary alteration included substantially limiting the amount of content from publishers in hopes to cultivate more organic social interactions between friends and family.

Facebook admitted mid-December that spending “a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people –” leads to reports of “feeling worse afterward,” citing multiple studies. And the way in which people consume and treat content is potentially not the only important reason for the decision, as the type of information, particularly disinformation, is also presumably a contributing factor.

The tech corporation’s stock took a stark dip following the announcement of the News Feed change, but many analysts predicted that the company’s valuation could ultimately benefit the company long term. And while it’s very early to tell, the changes and Facebook’s path forward appears auspicious, despite publishers’ and the media industry’s ire with an intentionally self-restrained Facebook marketing landscape. (RELATED: NYT, WSJ, Other Media Want To Take On Google, Facebook For Hogging All Of The Money)

Facebook’s shares have risen approximately 43 percent in the last year.

“So 2017 was a good year in many ways, but it was also challenging,” said Mark Zuckerberg. “That’s why our focus this year will be making sure our services are not just fun, but also good for us — and I’m confident we’ll rise to the challenge.”

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Eric Lieberman