Facebook is putting its short-term money where it’s mouth is, reducing the presence of viral videos in an effort to boost well-being of users of its site. Today in Facebook’s Q4 2017 earnings report CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that “Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people’s time is well spent. In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day.”
That’s a reduction of roughly 2.14 minutes per day per user, given that Facebook has 1.4 billion users now.
Facebook is making good on the promises Zuckerberg made on last quarter’s earnings call when he said ” “Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits.” It shows Facebook is executing on the big News Feed changes it announced earlier this month that were designed to reduce passive browsing, video consumption, and news in favor of active interactions with close friends.
Facebook’s willingness to promote user well-being over its bottom-line is unusual amongst big corporations. Some see it as an act of compassion. Others believe it’s just a long-term strategy designed to prevent a bigger “ditch Facebook” movement from emerging that could cost it a lot more than the time spent reduction announced today.