Facebook May Use Data From Portal Video Device To Target Adverts

Mark Zuckerberg

A small group of marketers has filed a lawsuit on Facebook, alleging that the social network was aware of measurement miscalculations a year prior to the official report. The opposed also alleged Facebook to know about the metric disparity since the year July 2015. Furthermore, its activity was described as "likely to deceive" advertisers. A group of advertisers brought a lawsuit against the social media firm in 2016 for failing to disclose the error earlier, accusing Facebook of engaging in unfair business practices by publishing inaccurate metrics that overestimated how long users spent watching ads and ultimately misled advertisers.

"About a month ago, we found an error in the way we calculate one of the video metrics on our dashboard-average duration of video viewed", David Fischer, a Facebook vice president, wrote. Facebook said the lawsuit is without merit and has moved to dismiss the fraud claim. The company's spokesperson told WSJ, "Suggestions that we in any way tried to hide this issue from our partners are false". The latest filing came shortly after the advertiser's review of 80,000 pages of internal Facebook records.

The company said at the Portal launch that it will not "listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls" and gives users the option of deleting their voice history at any time via Facebook's Activity Log. Facebook inflated the metric for two years as it only counted videos as viewed if they had been watched for three or more seconds.

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"The metric should have reflected the total time spent watching a video divided by the total number of people who played the video".

Facebook released a statement saying that the error has been corrected and provided various explanations that seem to downplay the seriousness of the error. This calculation tactic inflated the average viewing times by 60-80%, the social network told an ad-buying agency at the time.

The now-filed lawsuit alleges that this allowed the company to inflate average watch metrics by up to 900%.

Some are remarking that Facebook's inflated video numbers might have affected more than just advertisers.

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