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Facebook owns up to yet another data cock-up

There’s an old expression ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’ which might be on the minds of some at Facebook and many of its customers.

The social media (and advertising) giant has just owned up to underestimating iPhone audiences on certain posts, not insignificant given that mobile is et to become the second-biggest mad medium after TV in most big countries (and the biggest in China).

Facebook says: “We’ve uncovered an issue for a small group of Instant Articles publishers that impacts reporting in comScore. ComScore alerted us to the issue, and we’ve since identified this is a result of a recent Facebook update that impacted.”

Instant Articles are posts from publishers that Facebook users can read without leaving the site.

This is the third such Instant Articles mea culpa from Facebook in recent weeks following on the rather more significant admission that its average video view data was faulty. Essentially lots of people were actually only watching them fleetingly or not at all. This is highly significant given that video is the fastest-growing part of Facebook’s business and major media players like WPP spend billions on it.

Facebook, like Google, operates a so-callled “walled garden” where it supplies its own data to advertisers.

If many more such admissions emerge even the advertising holding company’s legions of Big Data fans may begin to doubt the veracity of such supposedly infallible stats.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

One comment

  1. Will the BDA’s and BDHC’s ever waken up to the fact that “Big Data” is merely “Big Bollocks?” As Zippy the Pinhead would say… Naaaah!

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