In May 2016, less than two years ago, Facebook reported that people spend an average of 50 minutes a day on its apps- Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram.
This figure was seen as a sign of the tech’s giant astonishing growth as well as increasing influence over our lives. But on the web, two years is a really long time.
On the 1st of February, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO reported that users are spending in total 50 million hours less a day on Facebook. This works out to about a 5% reduction in time spent per person.
Facebook described the decline as a good thing, resulting from recent changes made to the newsfeed which decreased the number of viral videos users see, and encouraging sharing with friends and family.
However, Zuckerberg failed to comment on how confident he was that the changes were not as a result of some other reason, asserting that their focus was on people having a “good time” on their site. He said he expected the time spent on the app to continue to decrease, adding: “we think it’ll be good for the business over the long term”. But should this trend continue less time spent on Facebook will grow to become a problem.
Is it possible that some users are suffering “Facebook fatigue?”
Beyond the reduction in time spent, there are other ominous signs and one which analysts picked on was a reduction in the number of people who log into Facebook on a daily basis.
Daily usage is important as it’s a sign of engagement.
Another worrying sign for investors was that user engagement in North America- the most profitable and mature region- slowed declined for the first time on record, falling by about 700,000. Despite the talk of not being bothered about a decrease in time spent on Facebook, users have noticed a rise in Facebook alerts if they haven’t checked their app for a while.
There’s also concern over Facebook’s numbers as it once again updated the accounts it believes to be fake. Three months ago it said between 2-3% of users are likely to be fake; on The 30th of January it upgraded that to between 3-4%.
This may seem like small numbers but it means that as many as 85 million accounts on Facebook are fake and a further 10% may be duplicate accounts.
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