The social media network revealed in a post on its advertiser help center that for two years its metric for the average time a user spent watching videos on the service was artificially inflated, reports the Wall Street Journal. The inflated figures arose from the fact that Facebook didn’t count video views of less than three seconds. Publicis Media, an ad buying agency who purchased $77 billion in ads on behalf of marketers around the world in 2015, said Facebook told them that it likely overestimated average time spent watching videos by between 60% and 80%.
The revelation will come as a huge embarrassment for Facebook as it’s been heavily touting that video is the future of the platform for years now. If reaction on Twitter is anything to go by, Facebook’s revelation is being treated both with disbelief and disdain.
I was at a dinner hosted by a rather well known video site. Execs were sure FB was cooking the numbers on video https://t.co/3KMzkSqcng
— Dave Lee (@DaveLeeBBC) September 23, 2016
Facebook was spending too much time censoring free speech, committed massive fraud on advertisers! https://t.co/pBU6XoQw6J
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) September 23, 2016
Facebook misstated average time spent watching videos by SIXTY TO EIGHTY PERCENT for two years. This is bananas. https://t.co/Fm4vb1yJfr
— Robinson Meyer (@yayitsrob) September 23, 2016
I for one am SHOCKED to learn that Facebook cooked the books over how long people watched its videos. Shocked. https://t.co/Fcwgpb4qew
— marc blank-settle (@MarcSettle) September 23, 2016
The king of data, Facebook, "miscalculated" data that enriched the company. Uh huh. https://t.co/o6M891iMs9
— Dan Gillmor (@dangillmor) September 23, 2016