Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that people are spending less time on Facebook after a recent overhaul of the social network.

The social network's founder said on Wednesday night that time spent on Facebook had fallen by 50 million hours a day, or two minutes per user – a 5 per cent decline, according to the Daily Telegraph.

It comes after Zuckerberg ordered an overhaul of its central news feed that relegates videos as well as pages from news publishers and brands, and boosts those from close friends.

However, shares in the company rose in late trading after Facebook reported record profits and revenues as its advertising juggernaut continued unabated, despite signs of slowing user growth.


Facebook has been under huge pressure in recent months over fake news, claims that the social network is bad for mental health and its struggles to police the material posted by its 2.1 billion users.

"2017 was a strong year for Facebook, but it was also a hard one," Zuckerberg said. "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."

Facebook's fourth-quarter revenues grew 47 per cent to US$13 billion ($17.6b), and profits grew 20 per cent to US$4.3b, despite it taking a US$3.2b hit because of recent changes to US tax law.

However, the growth in daily users – a key indicator – declined to 14 per cent year-on-year, disappointed investors.

Facebook also reported its first ever decline in daily users in North America, from 185m to 184m, a potential sign that some users in its traditionally strong markets are turning off the social network. Facebook said it did not expect the decline to continue.

Zuckerberg recently announced that he was making it his personal mission for 2018 to fix Facebook following its wave of criticism in 2017.

Speaking to investors on Wednesday night, he said that he was not concerned about people spending less time on Facebook and that he was more focused on encouraging "meaningful interactions".

"Helping people connect is more important than maximising the time they spent on Facebook," he said.


The company has been cracking down on illegal or unsavoury photos, videos and adverts. This week it banned cryptocurrency adverts, adding fuel to rumours that the social network may take a foray into the world of digital coins.

Zuckerberg revealed last month that he was studying cryptocurrencies and how to "best use them in our services".