Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the finding Wednesday as he sought to defend his company from allegations from those who have worked there that it profits off of making users addicted.
Zuckerberg said that the 50 million a day drop was about 5% of the hours that the site’s more than 2 billion subjects spend scrolling, and said that the change was part of “making sure Facebook isn’t just fun, but also good for people’s well-being and for society.”
The result is perhaps expected given Facebook’s recently announced changes to prioritize interactions between friends and family rather than news and other “public” content that strives to attract eyeballs in the pursuit of clicks and ad dollars.
Facebook also announced earlier this week that it would begin highlighting more articles from local news sources.
The site’s own business, despite the usage drop, grew 47% year over year to $40 billion for 2017, with Zuckerberg saying it was a “strong year” despite it being a “hard year” where society looked more closely at the platform’s role in political phenomena such as fake news.
Zuckerberg, sometimes rumored as a potential presidential candidate, also fought back against recent statements from former colleagues such as Sean Parker and Chamath Palihapitiya, who have spoken about Facebook purposefully addicting users to drive profits.
“Helping people connect is more important than maximizing the time they spend on Facebook,” the CEO said