Facebook on misreporting scandal 'we will and need to do better'

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 27 September 2016
Mark Zuckerberg onstage at F8 2016

In the wake of the revelation that Facebook 'over inflated' video view times, one of its top marketing executives has taken the stage at Advertising Week in New York to say “we will and need to do better”.

According to AdWeek, Carolyn Everson, Facebook's vp of global marketing solutions outlined that the company has learned a lot of from the past week, saying at the conference: "I think a lesson learned for all of us at Facebook—and perhaps in the industry—is that what we should have done a month ago was made it public that we had found this error and that we had made a correction, and not just called our clients and agencies."

Late last week it was revealed that Facebook's metric used for calculating the average time users spent with video was only including views of more than three seconds. By not including views of less than three seconds in the ‘Average Duration of Video Viewed’ metric, the average would have skewed higher making it seem as though users were watching for longer.

This was first written about by The Wall Street Journal, where the publication believed this practise had been going on for some two years.

Facebook has since come out and said the error has been fixed, with clients being informed of the issue a few weeks ago in the ad centre. However Everson told the Advertising Week crowd that: "As a learning organisation, we take deep pride in trust and transparency."

"I pride myself in over 25 years of relationships with clients that's built on trust, and so our promise is we will and need to do better."

AdNews recently asked key members of ad land what they thought of the issue, with Jason Tonelli, chief digital and technology officer at Publicis Media saying: “It is a misguided view of average viewing time at an aggregate level – data which we use to plan, optimise and measure campaign success – so the error can misguide the allocation of campaign activity to Facebook based on this reporting.”

You can read more thoughts on the issue here.

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