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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday October 15 2019, @09:14AM   Printer-friendly
from the if-the-gains-outweigh-the-penalty-it-becomes-business-as-usual dept.

Facebook vastly exaggerated the number of viewers it had on its video platform in order to lure producers away from competing platforms like YouTube. Facebook's exaggerations were off by 150% to 900% from the actual figures, and apparently knew it at the time. Facebook is proposing a settlement of a meager $40 million to avoid facing larger penalties. Fines or not, these exaggerations — or more precisely, lies — contributed to crippling or eliminating several video-oriented areas of activity.

According to a brief in support of the settlement, Facebook would pay $40 million to resolve claims. Much of that would go to those who purchased ad time in videos, though $12 million — or 30 percent of the settlement fund — is earmarked for plaintiffs' attorneys.

The suit accused Facebook of acknowledging miscalculations in metrics upon press reports, but still not taking responsibility for the breadth of the problem. "The average viewership metrics were not inflated by only 60%-80%; they were inflated by some 150 to 900%," stated an amended complaint.

Earlier on SN:
Facebook Discloses Additional Advertising Metric Miscalculations (2016)


Original Submission

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Facebook Discloses Additional Advertising Metric Miscalculations 12 comments

Facebook Inc. said it has uncovered several more flawed measurements related to how consumers interact with content, raising more questions about the metrics marketers lean on to decide whether to buy ads on the social media network.

The company publicly disclosed on Wednesday that a comprehensive internal metrics audit found that discrepancies, or "bugs," led to the undercounting or overcounting of four measurements, including the weekly and monthly reach of marketers' posts, the number of full video views and time spent with publishers' Instant Articles.

None of the metrics in question affect Facebook's billing, said Mark Rabkin, vice president of Facebook's core ads team.

[...] As part of its effort to assuage advertiser concerns about the soundness of its metrics, Facebook will provide viewability data from third-party metrics companies such as Moat and Integral Ad Science for display ad campaigns. Previously, this data was limited to video campaigns.

"We are doubling down on our efforts at third-party verification," said Carolyn Everson, Facebook's vice president of global marketing solutions.

Are Soylentils gratified that Facebook continues to be highly responsive to its customers? Is there a Facebook ad buy in your future? Or just an additional face-palm? Regardless of the issues, the product does seem to be selling like hotcakes.


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  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday October 15 2019, @12:36PM (3 children)

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Tuesday October 15 2019, @12:36PM (#907331) Journal

    They have no reason to not inflate and misrepresent everything as long as there are no consequences, or the penalties are less than what they gain. Fines for their misbehavior would have to number in the billions for them to take notice, or there would have to be a real possibility of the government splitting up the company.

    The reality of government now is that something like that would never happen unless the CEO of a misbehaving company had personally insulted the head of a major government agency at a cocktail party.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by canopic jug on Tuesday October 15 2019, @01:10PM (1 child)

      by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 15 2019, @01:10PM (#907343) Journal

      Oh, there are plenty of consequences, just not for Facebook. Many of those groups, projects, and individuals who did not have enough resources for two or more video services and fell for the lies lost their audiences when they dropped their existing service and disappeared into Facebook.

      --
      Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
      • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Tuesday October 15 2019, @02:41PM

        by ikanreed (3164) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 15 2019, @02:41PM (#907375) Journal

        Yeah, but the only one I know of was CollegeHumor and well... they're not missed.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday October 15 2019, @07:16PM

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday October 15 2019, @07:16PM (#907520)

      ...as long as there are no consequences...

      That seems to be the key. This smells like fraud, which is a criminal offence so maybe senior executives from Facebook should face criminal charges, but of course no prosecutor is going to do that because everyone involved will have some sort of plausible deniability.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Alfred on Tuesday October 15 2019, @06:06PM

    by Alfred (4006) on Tuesday October 15 2019, @06:06PM (#907477) Journal
    Anyone who thinks that there is any info given to you through facebook that cannot be manipulated is really naive. Or stupid, there is lots of stupid out there. Everyone also thinks that they can filter through it which is just a function of confirmation bias. Facebook will only drive our society more into factions over time.
  • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Tuesday October 15 2019, @08:37PM (3 children)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Tuesday October 15 2019, @08:37PM (#907545) Journal

    so, what are some alternatives to Facebook? Diaspora?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by FatPhil on Wednesday October 16 2019, @08:27AM (2 children)

      by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Wednesday October 16 2019, @08:27AM (#907796) Homepage
      The alternative to using facebook is not using facebook. I do that every day. I'm doing it now. I even do it in my sleep.
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday October 16 2019, @02:15PM (1 child)

        by bzipitidoo (4388) on Wednesday October 16 2019, @02:15PM (#907871) Journal

        And the alternative to using a car is?

        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday October 16 2019, @02:44PM

          by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Wednesday October 16 2019, @02:44PM (#907879) Homepage
          "No car" is the solution that's worked for me all my life.
          --
          Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
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