Facebook reports profit jump despite users spending less time on it

SAN FRANCISCO Facebook on Wednesday reported a big jump in profits even though people are spending less time on the world's biggest social network.

The company said its priority is to encourage personal interaction among users, rather than simply boost the number of hours they spend on Facebook.

Co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said changes made by Facebook have cut time spent on the site by some 50 million hours a day.

But chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said having users engage more with friends' posts could lead to further financial opportunities for Facebook.

"Helping people connect is more important than maximising the time they spend on Facebook," Mr Zuckerberg said.

Facebook said profits in the final three months of last year climbed 20 per cent to US$4.26 billion (S$5.59 billion). Revenue leapt 47 per cent to nearly US$13 billion, but expenses also rose as its ranks of employees grew to finish the year at 25,105 workers.

Facebook said the number of monthly active users hit 2.13 billion in the past quarter, up 14 percent from a year ago. - AFP