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Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (Facebook Photo)

Lingering bad feelings toward Facebook’s response to Russian-linked accounts spreading “fake news” during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign could be having an effect on the social media giant’s most lucrative audience — North America.

The company reported that daily active users in the U.S. and Canada dropped to 184 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, down from 185 million in Q3.

It might just mean that Facebook has finally reached everyone who cares about being on the platform, at least when it comes to those two countries. CNBC theorized that a flattening of usage — a first since Facebook started reporting the numbers in its earnings report — could lead to more ads in the News Feed, or more cost for advertisers per impression.

Overall, daily and monthly active users were both up 14 percent compared to last year.

Facebook DAUs
(Facebook Graphic)

Facebook did report earnings per share of $2.21 to beat estimates of $1.95. Revenue of $12.97 billion also beat the $12.55 billion projection.

“2017 was a strong year for Facebook, but it was also a hard one,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, said in a Facebook release. “In 2018, we’re focused on making sure Facebook isn’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being and for society. We’re doing this by encouraging meaningful connections between people rather than passive consumption of content.

“Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people’s time is well spent. In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day. By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term.”

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