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.


Google to charge Android partners up to $40 per device for apps

Updated 20 October 2018
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Google to charge Android partners up to $40 per device for apps

  • The new system should give Google’s rivals such as Microsoft Corp. more room to partner with hardware makers
  • The fee can be as low as $2.50 and rises depending on the country and device size

BRUSSELS/SAN FRANCISCO: Alphabet Inc’s Google will charge hardware firms up to $40 per device to use its apps under a new licensing system to replace one that the European Union this year deemed anti-competitive, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The new fee goes into effect on Oct. 29 for any new smartphone or tablet models launched in the European Economic Area and running Google’s Android operating system, the company announced on Tuesday.
The fee can be as low as $2.50 and rises depending on the country and device size, the person said. It is standard across manufacturers, with the majority likely to pay around $20, the person added.
Companies can offset the charge, which applies to a suite of apps including the Google Play app store, Gmail and Google Maps, by placing Google’s search and Chrome Internet browser in a prominent position. Under that arrangement, Google would give the device maker a portion of ad revenue it generates through search and Chrome.
Tech news outlet the Verge reported the pricing earlier on Friday, citing confidential documents.
The European Commission in July found Google abused its market dominance in mobile software to essentially force Android partners to pre-install search and Chrome on their gadgets. It levied a record $5-billion fine, which Google has appealed, and threatened additional penalties unless the company ended its illegal practices.
The new system should give Google’s rivals such as Microsoft Corp. more room to partner with hardware makers to become the default apps for search and browsing, analysts said.
Qwant, a small French search company that has been critical of Google, said in a statement on Friday that it was “satisfied that the European Commission’s action pushed Google to finally give manufacturers the possibility to offer such choices to consumers.”