Friday, 22 February, 2019

Facebook accused of withholding info on problems with video ad measurement

Mark Zuckerberg Mark Zuckerberg Credit Marlene Awaad Bloomberg
Nellie Chapman | 20 October, 2018, 18:50

A Facebook engineering manager, in June the following year, wrote internally that "somehow there was no progress on the task for the year", per the complaint.

However, the September 2016 admission was far from the last time Facebook had to apologize for providing incorrect metrics.

Social networking giant Facebook is developing a camera-equipped set-top box for TVs that would support functionalities like video-calling, a media report said.

The new claims against Facebook, if proven true, show the company yet again failing to handle an internal error with proper transparency, which will come as another blow to the degree of marketers' trust in one of the world's largest digital advertising platforms. But now it only seems Portal is another cog in the company's dense advertising machine. The average viewership metrics were not inflated by only 60 to 80 percent; they were inflated by some 150 to 900 percent.

"This lawsuit is without merit and we've filed a motion to dismiss these claims of fraud", a spokesperson said in a statement to the Daily News. 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.

After the Cambridge Analytica fiasco and the recent security breach of millions of accounts' private data, Facebook is now in the headlines due to litigation from a small group of advertisers alleging that it withheld information regarding a video metric goof-up for a year.

Yet, are people watching video content on Facebook as much as the company has reported? Then, it partnered with third-parties to verify and measure its metrics.

Facebook claims that it informed the customers just after the errors were discovered and updated their help center to explain the issue. However, in their complaint, the plaintiffs claim Facebook's misrepresentations "induced" advertisers to purchase video ads and to pay more for Facebook's video ads because they believed users were watching videos for longer than they actually were on average. "Facebook ignored reports from advertisers of aberrant results caused by Facebook's method of calculation".

Some are remarking that Facebook's inflated video numbers might have affected more than just advertisers. Facebook makes up about 25 percent of United States video ad spending, according to eMarketer.