In case you need convincing of the fact that Facebook is the single most important entity in the world, Facebook has released a new report on the effect of its products on human attention — those exquisite moments when we all hit the “Like” button and become instant conduits of data to the social network. The report gives us two different but critical impressions of the way Facebook (and a lot of other web companies) consume our attention.
First, we are fed this grim news: According to this report, we spend less time on Facebook each day. Three billion likes a day, in this report, is a goal shared only by Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter. Even that kind of awesome number, though, pales in comparison to the number of likes generated every year for Facebook alone: The average Facebook user on Facebook generated 3,921 likes in 2017, the company claimed in a 2017 blog post. A year ago, it said 2,716. Indeed, a peek into the mind of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is instructive here. If you guessed 2017, you are as correct as you are likely. Facebook was not forthcoming about its internal data. So what the company offered in this report was just a subset of its user data, which covers who visited Facebook’s website in December and December 2017. It adds up to 55 percent of Facebook’s users. For this reason, in the past, Facebook has given growth data only for its monthly and daily active users, who number in the billions.