New data reveals a decline in both the amount of time people are spending on Facebook , and a near one million drop in users from North America and Canada.   

For the first time EVER Facebook has experienced a drop in user numbers. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the reduction in numbers was inevitable, as the company attempted to make the site “more valuable” to its users. However, the Recode website, made the point that the posted Q4 stats for 2017 showed that people had already spent 50 million less hours on the world’s largest social network, before Zuckerberg announced major changes to the way that Facebook would operate its news feed, in January 2018. (Go Recode for looking at the small print

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Facebook claimed 184 million daily average users (DAUs) in the U.S. and Canada in Q4 2017, down from 185 million in Q3, but still up on previous years.  

Despite the fall in numbers and user hours in the USA and Canada however, Facebook still reported another year of better than expected results, posting almost $16 billion in global profits. 

USA! USA! USA! 

There are many reasons as to why Facebook’s North American user base has fallen. The average user age has increased significantly, and usage in overall in the region seems to have reached it zenith in the last several years.  The drop suggests that Facebook may have reached its high tide mark in its first and most lucrative market. The worry for investors is the drop doesn’t herald similar usage drops around the world. 

The reason for Facebook’s high profits are down to international growth. The company added 32 million people in Q4 last year. That said, that growth was the smallest quarter-over-quarter increase in two years. 

Fake news? 

No, not that Zuckerberg seems to be all that bothered.  

Earlier this year, Zuckerberg revealed sweeping changes that meant users would see less viral videos and news posts in their News Feed, and said he expected the time people spent on Facebook to fall. 

“Helping people connect is more important than maximising the time they spend on Facebook,” Zuckerberg said. “We can make sure the service is good for people’s well-being and for society overall… 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… By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long-term.”