Facebook Admits To Wildly Inflating Video View Statistics

If you're responsible for creating advertising campaigns for a website or a Web service, you need the confidence that you're going to see a good return-on-investment. To gauge that, you're going to listen to the promises of the company or site that hosts the advertising platform. Unfortunately, those promises are sometimes inaccurate - even if it's by accident.

Such is the case with Facebook. The world's largest social network has just admitted to fudging up the view counts of videos used for advertising, though it insists that no one has been ripped off.

The crux of the problem is that Facebook counted a video as a "view" for a mere three second watch. It's safe to assume that in three seconds, no one is going to know what an ad is about, so the value for that view would be almost nonexistent. Not to mention, how many times have you scrolled down on Facebook to encounter an auto-playing video, and simply keep on scrolling by?


Facebook says that it made its mistake clear in the dashboard where advertisers go to check up on things, and while it says that no one got ripped off, it's a little hard to understand how that isn't the case. If advertisers see other advertisers getting a massive amount of views on videos, it could give false impressions of potential reach, impact and success of a campaign.

This issue can act as proof for outside sources being a good idea for monitoring metrics. Martin Sorrell, the CEO of WPP Plc, a British multinational advertising and public relations company, has said that "We have also been calling for a long time for media owners like Facebook and Google not to mark their own homework and release data to ComScore to enable independent evaluation". That seems like a fair enough idea, although it must be said that his company invests in ComScore, so there's some self-interest involved likely.

Even so, metrics should be as accurate as possible, and if a video is considered watched after a mere 3 seconds, that's not going to do anyone much good. It will be interesting to see if this issue impacts how some advertisers go about their campaigns with Facebook moving forward.