Rupert Murdoch, international media magnate and founder of News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA) (NASDAQ:NWS), tweeted this morning about Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), comparing the company to “crappy” MySpace, a company that Murdoch’s Mew Corp bought for $580 million in 2005, right before its user base evaporated.
Late on Thursday night, the following tweet appeared on Murdoch’s feed; “Look out Facebook! Hours spent participating per member dropping seriously. First really bad sign as seen by crappy MySpace years ago.” The tweet went viral on Friday, as some were incredulous that Murdoch would make such an attack after his own career in the social networking business.
Look out Facebook!Hours spent participating per member dropping seriously.First really bad sign as seen by crappy MySpace years ago.
— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) May 17, 2013
The Murdoch tweet referenced a key stat that many analysts are concerned about when it comes to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). Number of hours spent on Facebook is an important way to measure engagement, and therefore the value of advertising on the site. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) engagement numbers may not be quite what they were a year ago, in the face of competition and a switch to mobile.
If Rupert Murdoch doesn’t want his failures remembered and rebroadcast, he should probably stop reminding everyone about them. Murdoch has been an incredibly successful businessman, whatever some may think about his particular philosophy. His attempts at social networking were dire however, and, unless he’s still seeking catharsis, he probably shouldn’t be reminding everyone.
After spending $580 million on the future of global communication in 2005, News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA) (NASDAQ:NWS) sold the business for $35 million last year. Murdoch has admitted his failure in that deal before, but he’s rarely a man to flaunt his mistakes. His Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) taunt seems an excuse for media outlets to talk about that rather than problems at the world’s current social network.
It’s really unclear how engagement is going at Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). The company is clearly doing a great deal to improve the power of its advertisements, and its revenue by extension, but if hours spent on the social network really are falling, there may be trouble ahead at Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB).
MySpace fell because the company couldn’t keep up with innovation at Facebook. Facebook doesn’t seem to have this problem, or any serious competition, or at least not just yet. Murdoch may be right in the long term, but for now few investors are likely to be shaken by his comments. On today’s market Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock trended up to $26.31 at time of writing.