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Facebook admits exaggerated video stats

September 23, 2016

Social media giant Facebook has confessed that it has overestimated how much video people have watched through its service for the last two years.

The error affected a Facebook metric called “average duration of video viewed”, which was supposed to tell publishers for how long, on average, people had watched a video. However, the metric did not include viewers who had watched for less than three seconds in the count. Discounting the shorter views – including people who had ignored a video in their news feed – inflated the average viewing times for each video.

One advertiser, reports the BBC, suggested that, in some cases, video viewing statistics had been overestimated by up to 80 per cent.

In a statement, Facebook said: “We recently discovered an error in the way we calculate one of our video metrics. This error has been fixed, it did not impact billing, and we have notified our partners both through our product dashboards and via sales and publisher outreach.”

The metric has now been more accurately renamed as “average watch time” and Facebook said it started using this to gather statistics on video consumption late last month.

The statement also said the video-viewing metric was one among many that ad firms use to work out if their content is being watched.

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