Feb. 1 (UPI) — Facebook users spent a combined 50 million fewer hours per day on the social network site in the final quarter of 2017, the company’s chief said Wednesday.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement the social network started implementing new strategies in the fourth quarter to ensure that users spent more meaningful time on the site — and less on popular videos and brand promotions.
“Our focus in 2018 is making sure Facebook isn’t just fun, but also good for people’s well-being and for society,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re doing this by encouraging meaningful connections between people rather than passive consumption of content.”
“We made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day. By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term.”
In the announcement, Zuckerberg also acknowledged the website’s tough year in 2017 and said preventing harm on Facebook is his “personal challenge for 2018.”
“The world feels anxious and divided — and that played out on Facebook,” he said. “We’ve seen abuse on our platform, including interference from nation states, the spread of news that is false, sensational and polarizing, and debate about the utility of social media.”
“We have a responsibility to fully understand how our services are used, and to do everything we can to amplify the good and prevent harm.”
To increase connections and human interaction, Zuckerberg said the company would focus on expanding services that users already prefer, like Marketplace and Facebook groups.
Zuckerberg announced last month that Facebook plans to change the formula that determines users’ news feeds to focus on personal connections.
The chief executive also said he expected Facebook’s 2 billion-plus users to spend less time on social media, across the board.