In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg outlined plans to afford extra prominence to news sources he deems to be ‘broadly trusted’, while limiting the visibility of those that are ‘not widely trusted beyond their core audience’.
In a response to the intense pressure placed on the social network to combat what is colloquially referred to as ‘fake news’, Zuckerberg highlighted a number of sources he deems are ‘trustworthy’, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
He also spoke to what is and is not in the best interests of society and its well-being: “One of the most important things we do is making sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being and for society overall.”
The over-arching theme of the post signified Zuckerberg’s desire to get back to basics: Facebook should be about maximising personal connections rather than passive consumption of news and video.
Zuckerberg claims the fact users have spent 50 million hours less hours on Facebook every day is a sign that recent updates made to facilitate this aim, including limiting the display of viral videos, are working.
Zuckerberg’s announcement also coincides with Facebook’s Q4 2017 earning’s report, which signifies slower growth in the social network’s number of daily active users (DAUs). In Q3 Facebook announced 1.37 billion DAUs, growth of 3.8% on the previous quarter, while in Q4 DAUs total 1.40 billion, growth of 2.18% on the previous quarter.
DAUs in the USA and Canada declined for the first time by 700,000 (total DAUs in the USA and Canada are 184 million) and Zuckerberg’s announcement predicated a drop in Facebook’s share price. Total revenue for Q4 was $12.97 billion.
This said, it’s far from all doom-and-gloom for the world’s biggest social network. Total number of active users is now 2.13 billion, which is up 3.39% on Q3 (growth from Q2 to Q3 was 3.19%).
The social network also raked in $4.26 billion in profit in Q4 and announced WhatsApp, one of the world’s most popular instant messaging services, recently surpassed 1.5 billion active users.