Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wants you to spend less time on his social media site. Facebook was founded by Zuckerberg way back in 2004 and its success has seen Zuckerberg develop a net worth of over $76 billion, making him the fifth richest person on the planet. Facebook generates its revenue by selling advertising on the social media site, but over the past couple of years, it has been widely criticized for fueling the growth of the “fake news” phenomena. Social media sites like Facebook have been targeted by those who wish to spread disinformation, and the signs are that its popularity is beginning to drop off.
As reported by the Washington Post, Mr. Zuckerberg announced yesterday that Facebook users are spending less time on the social media site. According to Zuckerberg, the average Facebook user is spending a shade over two minutes per day less time on the site. This doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up to an eye-watering 50 million hours a day.
It would be easy to assume that those numbers would be a major worry for Zuckerberg and Facebook, and the stock market did initially show a drop in the value of Facebook shares. Those shares rebounded pretty quickly when Zuckerberg released a statement explaining why the drop in the amount of time spent on Facebook is a good thing.
It has been widely reported in recent months that Facebook has been changing its algorithms to make content more relevant for individual users. As reported by the Guardian, Facebook was widely used to spread disinformation on the 2016 U.S. presidential election and in the U.K. “Brexit” referendum. It is this practice that Zuckerberg wants to change, he wants to reduce the amount of time people spend simply “consuming” information on Facebook. In short, Zuckerberg wants Facebook to get back to its reason for existing in the first place by offering people the opportunity to have meaningful social interactions with others.
As reported by Mashable, Zuckerberg wants us to get back to having fun on Facebook, and that means fewer viral videos and more real conversations.
“In 2018, we’re focused on making sure Facebook isn’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being and for society. We’re doing this by encouraging meaningful connections between people rather than passive consumption of content.”
Of course, Zuckerberg doesn’t just have your welfare in mind, he believes that in the longer term the advertising revenue generated by Facebook will grow because the advertising you see will be more local and more carefully targeted. If you are one of those who can’t get through the day without logging into Facebook, there is no need to worry. In the fourth quarter of 2017 Facebook’s revenue grew by 61 percent, netting them a cool $13 billion.