- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 31, 2021

Facebook — which currently enjoys 2.8 billion active users a month — is also enjoying some tidy profits: The social media giant’s total revenue was $86 billion in 2020, up 22% compared to the previous year.

After costs and expenses, Facebook had a profit of $33 billion, up 36% compared to 2019, when the figure stood at $24 million.

Did political drama and the 2020 election have anything to do with the increase? There’s no ready answer. Nevertheless, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is candid about sharing “divisive” or political content. It’s about to get the boot.

“One of the top pieces of feedback that we’re hearing from our community right now is that people don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in a conference call with investors this week.

“There has been a trend across society that a lot of things have become politicized and politics have had a way of creeping into everything,” he noted.

“We stopped recommending civic and political groups in the U.S. ahead of the elections. We’re continuing to fine tune how this works, but now we plan to keep civic and political groups out of recommendations for the long term, and we plan to expand that policy globally”; Mr. Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook — noting it was an effort to “down the temperature and discourage divisive conversations and communities.”

And now what?

“Zuckerberg didn’t elaborate on how Facebook might reduce political content shown to users in the News Feed. But if the company is serious at doing so, it’s hard to imagine that the forthcoming moves won’t have a significant impact on the hyper-partisan news publishing industry,” said Oliver Darcy, CNN’s senior media reporter. “Right-wing pundits such as Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro have built digital empires, largely driven by their Facebook pages. Will Zuckerberg’s move put a dent in their business?”

“Prepare for claims of censorship,” Mr. Darcy predicted.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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