Mark Zuckerberg boasts that changes to Facebook have caused people to spend 50 million fewer hours on the social network every day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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Adnan Abidi/Reuters

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said users are spending less time on the social network every day.
  • The decline is due to changes that Facebook said it has made to improve the experience on the site and to eliminate problematic aspects of Facebook.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg just did something practically unheard of during a quarterly earnings report: He bragged about changes that made people use his product less.

“We made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day,” Zuckerberg said in a statement accompanying Facebook’s Q4 earnings on Wednesday.

Zuckerberg did not specify what those changes were.

But the comment underscores the difficult situation Facebook finds itself in, as its social network has come under fire for spreading misinformation and propaganda, as well as for incentivizing consumers to spend too much time on its site. Some critics have begun arguing that social networks like Facebook and Snapchat can be addictive.

So, even as Facebook needs to convince Wall Street of the company’s healthy growth prospects, Zuckerberg is also trying to diffuse the growing concerns about Facebook’s impact on society.

Here’s Zuckerberg’s full statement:

“2017 was a strong year for Facebook, but it was also a hard one. In 2018, we’re focused on making sure Facebook isn’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being and for society. We’re doing this by encouraging meaningful connections between people rather than passive consumption of content. 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. By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term.”