Pivot to the Truth? Facebook Lied About Video Stats, Advertisers Say

Daniel Fowler
October 20, 2018

The social network revealed in September 2016 that it artificially inflated the metric for two years because it only counted videos as viewed if they had been watched for three or more seconds - failing to taking shorter views into account - and possibly misleading advertisers. Furthermore, its activity was described as "likely to deceive" advertisers. In new court filings the advertisers claim Facebook knew about the metrics mix-up in January 2015, well before disclosing it fully. They claim that Facebook covered up the mistake the whole time. "This lawsuit is without merit and we've filed a motion to dismiss these claims of fraud", a company spokesperson told CNET.

"Portal voice calling is built on the Messenger infrastructure, so when you make a video call on Portal, we collect the same types of information (i.e. usage data such as length of calls, frequency of calls) that we collect on other Messenger-enabled devices", Facebook said in a statement. "We told our customers about the error when we discovered it-and updated our help center to explain the issue", a spokeswoman said.

Facebook has made video central to its growth for years, convincing advertisers and media organizations alike that they should redirect investment to video content.

Internally code-named "Ripley", the device would use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automatically detect and follow people as they move through the frame during a video call, news website Cheddar reported on Tuesday.

A lawsuit against Facebook in the USA has rebubbled this week, accusing the social media platform of knowingly over-reporting numbers about video viewership on its platform.

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The plaintiffs also claim that the metrics were actually inflated up to 900%, not the 60-80% that Facebook had previously offered. In reality, the company only included those who had viewed a video for three seconds or more when calculating this metric, leaving out everyone who clicked away before three seconds.

The lawsuit also claims Facebook understated the metrics inaccuracy, and that average view times were inflated up to 900 percent.

Facebook now has a dedicated metrics team and allows third parties and experts to review its measurements regularly. When the issue came to light, Facebook said it overestimated average time spent watching video ads by as much as 60 to 80 percent.

You've probably noticed a lot more videos popping up in your Facebook feed this past year or so.

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