Facebook’s user engagement dips on News Feed tweaks; shares fall

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration, in this August 14, 2013 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 01 February 2018
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Facebook’s user engagement dips on News Feed tweaks; shares fall

NEW YORK: Facebook Inc. reported slightly slower-than-expected growth in daily active users in the latest quarter and said changes made to the News Feed reduced the time spent by users by about 50 million hours every day.
Shares of the company were down 3 percent at $181.26 after the bell on Wednesday.
Facebook said about 1.40 billion people were using its service daily as of Dec. 31, up 14 percent from a year earlier, compared with analysts’ estimate of $1.41 billion, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.
Facebook had warned earlier this month that user engagement would take a hit in the near term from attempts to tweak its flagship News Feed feature.
“Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people’s time is well spent,” Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.
The company also plans to highlight “trustworthy” news in the feed following allegations that Russian operatives and others spread false reports on the site, particularly during the 2016 US Presidential election.
This change is set to shrink the amount of news on Facebook to about 4 percent of all content from 5 percent currently.
Net income attributable to Facebook shareholders rose to $4.27 billion, or $1.44 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from $3.56 billion, or $1.21 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding a tax provision, the company earned $2.21 per share, topping analysts’ estimates of $1.95, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Total revenue rose 47 percent to $12.97 billion, while full-year revenue was also up 47 percent at $40.65 billion.
Total advertising revenue was $12.78 billion, compared with analysts’ estimate of $12.30 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Mobile ad revenue accounted for 89 percent of the total ad sales, up from 84 percent a year earlier.


Russia opens civil cases against Facebook, Twitter

Updated 21 January 2019
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Russia opens civil cases against Facebook, Twitter

  • Russia has introduced tougher Internet laws in the past five years
  • Moscow plans to impose stiffer fines on technology firms that fail to comply with Russian laws

MOSCOW: Russia’s communication watchdog said on Monday it was opening administrative proceedings against Twitter and Facebook for failing to explain how they plan to comply with local data laws, the Interfax news agency reported.
Roskomnadzor, the watchdog, was quoted as saying that Twitter and Facebook had not explained how and when they would comply with legislation that requires all servers used to store Russians’ personal data to be located in Russia.
The agency’s head, Alexander Zharov, was quoted as saying the companies have a month to provide information or else action would be taken against them.
Russia has introduced tougher Internet laws in the past five years, requiring search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services and social networks to store Russian users’ personal data on servers within the country.
At the moment, the only tools Russia has to enforce its data rules are fines that typically only come to a few thousand dollars or blocking the offending online services, which is an option fraught with technical difficulties.
However, sources in November said that Moscow plans to impose stiffer fines on technology firms that fail to comply with Russian laws.