When it comes to the success of its News Feed and what type of experience users are having there, Facebook says more liking and commenting and reading serves as an important metric. And through surveys it conducts with users, the quality of the experience is also taken into account.
But whether a lot of time on the site doesn’t count as “addiction” so long as that time is “meaningful” is the muddled world that Adam Mosseri, a Facebook VP who is also the head of News Feed, wandered into during a discussion at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco on Wednesday.
“Our mission on News Feed is to connect people with stories they find meaningful, not to get people to use it absolutely as much as possible,” Mosseri said. “We try to make sure that the time that people spend in News Feed reading stories is time that they feel good about.”
Since Facebook is apparently not doing anything purposeful to make people spend more time in News Feed, Mosseri was asked by TechCrunch’s Josh Constine whether anything was done in the product to discourage addictive behaviors.
Mosseri said ultimately Facebook wants to show people content that they find most interesting. But Constine countered that that logic seems like it would cause addiction.
“I think ideally we’re showing people content that they find meaningful and then they feel good about the time that they’re spending,” Mosseri said. “And if they’re not feeling good about the time that they’re spending then they would actually spend less time on Facebook.”
Whether Facebook is actually keeping track of users who might be showing signs of addictive behavior through how they use News Feed, and whether that behavior could ultimately drive them away from News Feed, Mosseri really never budged on the quality argument.
And while Facebook says the average user spends about 45 minutes a day on News Feed, Constine finally just asked whether three hours or even eight hours of News Feed browsing a day would be too much.
“I think that different people use Facebook in different ways,” Mosseri said, adding that around the world there is a lot of variance among audiences. “For each person the right amount of time depends on their own needs and their own life.”
Watch the full video below for more of Mosseri’s insight into News Feed, the trending stories saga, censorship and more.