Facebook Says It Will Prioritize Local News Posts

By Mark Athitakis  Jan 30 2018

If we were to revisit that 50 million hours number on a per-user basis, it would be a drop of 0.035 hours aka 2.1 minutes per user per day.

"When I traveled around the country previous year, one theme people kept telling me is how much we all have in common if we can get past some of the most divisive national issues", Zuckerberg said in his post. But those News feed changes weren't yet in effect in Q4, when the 50 million-hour daily decrease took place.

The social network will use the links clicked by readers living in a small geographic area to identify local publishers.

The $13 billion in sales wasn't enough to satiate Wall Street, however, with shares of Facebook falling more than 4 percent after hours to below $180 a share. The S&P 500 Index .SPX rose 24 percent during the same period.

Marketing specialists in social media along with travel agency owners have been complaining for years that changes made by Facebook to news feeds algorithms make it harder to promote businesses on the platform and reach new customers with free publications. This is Facebook we're talking about. Facebook said 126 million Americans may have seen Russian-backed political ads and posts.

While posts from family and friends will still be ranked higher on the social network, news will make up about 4 percent of News Feed, Zuckerberg said this month. But such changes come at a cost.

Facebook's average revenue per daily user is $9.27, up 23 percent from last quarter.

"Last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people's time is well spent", he said.

The fallout from the 2016 USA election - where Russian trolls leveraged Facebook to spread disinformation - continued to bring the company scrutiny. The spending spree includes new warehouses full of servers and thousands of new workers to review content posted by users. Facebook reported profits of $1.44 per share; analysts were looking for $1.95 a share. Without the adjustment, Facebook would have earned $2.21, topping consensus of $1.94.

The company reported fourth quarter revenue of almost $13bn, up 47% from the same period in 2016.

Facebook said about 1.40 billion people were using its service daily as of December 31, up 14 percent from a year earlier, compared with analysts' estimate of 1.41 billion, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

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