×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg: ‘Not All Interactions in Social Media Are Equally Good for People’

Sheryl Sandberg said Facebook decided to change its News Feed to favor more “meaningful” connections, after looking at research showing that some kinds of usage of social networks have negative effects.

“What the data shows is not all interactions in social media are equally good for people in terms of their psychological well-being,” said Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, speaking at Morgan Stanley’s 2018 Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday.

CFO David Wehner, also speaking at the conference, said that Facebook’s News Feed changes will not dramatically affect advertising revenue. “I don’t think the impact on the business is really that profound,” he said. He said that by improving the overall experience for Facebook users, that would benefit advertisers as well over time by delivering a higher-quality product.

Facebook in January announced changes to the algorithm it uses to show posts in users’ News Feeds to favor content from friends and family, rather than posts from third-party publishers. The company has previously acknowledged studies indicating high levels of usage of social media can lead to depression and feelings isolation.

Sandberg admitted that 2017 was a “challenging year — that feels like a bit of an understatement” — and she said that 2018 feels like it will be too. “The world is very polarized… There’s a lot of deep-seated worry about the state of the world,” she said.

Critics have blasted Facebook for playing a part in the spread of false and misleading news stories, particularly during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The company also has come under fire for selling ads to a Russia-linked group aimed at sowing political discord among Americans.

According to Sandberg, Facebook continues to take steps to address issues related to minimize the distribution of fake news and curtail bad actors who try to manipulate the platform. She said false news is mostly motivated by economics, not political ideology, so “the most important thing we can do is go after economic incentives.”

Regarding Facebook Watch, the video initiative it rolled out starting last summer, Sandberg said it was designed to provide an organized destination for users to discover and view longer-form content. About 40% of video viewing on Facebook is generated by sharing, Sandberg noted, so it has a particular focus on bringing content to Watch that will be social and engaging.

Facebook had to “stock the shelves” in Watch, so it paid for some of the programming, Sandberg said. “But it’s still the case that more of the content has been provided by others, not funded by us, and that’s definitely the model going forward,” she said.

Sandberg also called out the #MeToo movement, and said it was important that men don’t shy away from mentoring female coworkers out of fear. She cited surveys finding that men are now less likely to interact or travel with women colleagues, fearing reprisals.

“Not harassing us is important — but [it’s] basic,” she said. In addition to not engaging in behavior that never should happen in a workplace, women “need an equal amount of time and attention” in terms of mentoring from male coworkers, she said.

Last year, Facebook raked in revenue of $40.65 billion in revenue, up 47% year over year, and net income of $15.9 billion, up 56% despite negative impact of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in the fourth quarter. In December 2017, Facebook’s daily active user base reached 1.4 billion, versus 1.23 billion a year prior.

More Digital

  • MODEL RELEASED Hand holding iPhone with

    Netflix Q4 Preview: Price Hike Could Signal Strong Year-End Quarter

    Netflix is feeling its oats with a price hike across all streaming plans: Coming just two days before the it reports fourth-quarter 2018 results, the timing of the fee increases may indicate that Netflix will report a big beat on Q4 expectations. The company is scheduled to report earnings on Thursday, Jan. 17, after market [...]

  • IMDb UnMade - Rainn Wilson, Nick

    Amazon's IMDb Launches Original Series 'UnMade' About Comedians' Rejected Hollywood Pitches

    IMDb, the Amazon-owned entertainment database, has premiered its latest original show: “UnMade,” featuring Rainn Wilson, Nick Cannon, Kristen Schaal, Reggie Watts and other comedians discussing early pet projects that were never produced, until now — sort of. In each episode, one of the guest comedians recounts a project they created and pitched back when they were [...]

  • apple music

    Verizon Bundles Apple Music With Top-Tier Unlimited Wireless Plans for No Extra Charge

    Verizon has expanded its ties to Apple — offering wireless subscribers on its two most expensive unlimited plans access to the Apple Music for no extra charge. Starting Jan. 17, Apple Music will be included in Verizon’s Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited plans, the telco announced Tuesday. For Apple, the bundling agreement promises to augment [...]

  • Infowars Alex Jones

    Roku Removes Infowars Channel Following Backlash

    Roku has taken the Infowars channel off its platform after the streaming device faced criticism for carrying the controversial program hosted by right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. “After the InfoWars channel became available, we heard from concerned parties and have determined that the channel should be removed from our platform,” stated the company’s tweet on [...]

  • SAMUEL L. JACKSON in Glass. M.

    ‘Glass’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Glass.” Ads placed for the superhero thriller had an estimated media value of $9.89 million through Sunday for 1,183 national [...]

  • Snap Inc

    Snap CFO Tim Stone to Leave Company

    Snapchat corporate parent Snap Inc. is facing another major executive departure: The company’s chief financial officer Tim Stone is on his way out, Snap revealed in a regulatory filing Tuesday afternoon. Stone will stay with the company to find a new candidate for his position for the time being, according to the filing. His last [...]

  • birdbox Sandra Bullock

    Will Netflix's Latest Price Hike Spur a Customer Backlash?

    Netflix is rolling out its biggest price increase to date — including hiking the standard HD plan from $10.99 to $12.99 per month — for all subscribers in the U.S. and parts of Latin America. The obvious risk: Some customers will see the higher prices as a reason to bail on Netflix, while there’s also [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content