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Mark Zuckerberg Addresses Sharing Decline Reports As Facebook Crushes Earnings

“Overall sharing is up across Facebook,” said the CEO. But reports were not disputed.

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In recent weeks, reports have emerged declaring that "original sharing" on Facebook is down significantly. This sharing — the type where you post your own photos, videos, or text instead of simply hitting the "share" button — is critical to the vibrancy of Facebook. Less original sharing equals more mass-appeal content for Facebook’s feeds, meaning we see more news reports and made-for-social memes taking the place of the heartfelt life updates and goofy photos that make Facebook fun.

It is no wonder then that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg received a question about sharing during Wednesday’s earnings call. His answer, while filled with positive news, did not dispute the reports that original sharing is down, a sign that we’re likely to keep hearing about this issue for some time to come.

“Overall sharing is up across Facebook and people are spending more time on Facebook and the whole family of apps,” Zuckerberg said. “That is not just the case for the aggregate of the growing community, but it's actually also the case on a per-person basis as well, in terms of people sharing more and spending more time individually.”

@Kantrowitz @amir yep. Less personal, fewer words. More videos, URLs, etc.

Zuckerberg didn’t specify the type of sharing that went up, leaving the door open for the increase in overall sharing to be fueled by more simple clicks of the "share" button.

That said, Facebook isn’t giving up on original sharing, or even acknowledging its decline. Zuckerberg simply spoke of other Facebook products where the sharing may have migrated to.

“Facebook gives you the ability to share with all of your friends and publicly if you want, and groups, but we are also investing in things like Messenger and WhatsApp,” Zuckerberg said. “A lot of people want to share increasingly messages privately one-on-one or with very small groups.”

The original sharing problem seems to be a small one for Facebook at the moment. The company delivered an impressive earnings report for the first quarter of 2016, bringing in revenue of $5.38 billion on the quarter, beating estimates of $5.25 billion. And its 77 cents profit per share beat estimates of 62 cents.

Zuckerberg, for one, was pleased with the results, telling analysts: “We started 2016 off well.”

Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.

Contact Alex Kantrowitz at alex.kantrowitz@buzzfeed.com.

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