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.


Facebook’s Zuckerberg agrees to live-stream EU parliament hearing

Updated 21 May 2018
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Facebook’s Zuckerberg agrees to live-stream EU parliament hearing

BRUSSELS: Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to live-stream his meeting with European Parliament members as he answers questions in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a top official said Monday.
The meeting on Tuesday with the parliament’s most senior members was initially set to be held behind closed doors.
But influential MEPs had pushed for a public hearing following the worst crisis in Facebook’s history.
“I have personally discussed with Facebook CEO Mr.Zuckerberg the possibilty of webstreaming meeting with him,” the parliament’s leader Antonio Tajani wrote on Twitter.
“I am glad to announce that he has accepted this new request. Great news for EU citizens,” he added.
Tajani had invited Zuckerberg, saying the 2.7 million EU citizens affected by the data sharing scandal deserved a full explanation.
The visit comes as the EU is introducing tough new data protection rules later this month, which Facebook has said it will comply with.
Facebook admitted earlier this month that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked for US President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign.
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on May 25, aims to give users more control over how their personal information is stored and used online, with big fines for firms that break the rules.
Zuckerberg, who has repeatedly apologized for the massive data breach, told the US Congress in April that the more stringent EU rules could serve as a rough model globally.
The European Parliament hearing will run from 6:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (1615 GMT to 1730 GMT) on Tuesday.
Tajani will also hold a private meeting with Zuckerberg the same day, a spokesman for the parliamentary chief told AFP.
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