Fb in recent video metrics row

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

Three social media marketing firms - Crowd Siren, Social Media Models, and Quirky - initiated the lawsuit shortly after a September 2016 Wall Street Journal report revealed that Facebook had "overestimated average time spent watching videos by between 60 percent and 80 percent".

The plaintiffs claim that Facebook found loopholes on the Average Duration of Video Viewed in January 2015. Furthermore, its activity was described as "likely to deceive" advertisers.

Facebook says the lawsuit is without merit and is seeking to have the claims dismissed.

Facebook was quick to note that Portal wouldn't feed your data to advertisers - "Portal conversations stay between you and the people you're calling", last week's announcement said - but that reassurance has already proven false: Facebook might use your calls and Portal app usage as queues for its advertising network, a company spokesperson told Recode. The company even updated regarding the issue on their official help center.

The plaintiffs reviewed an estimated 80,000 pages of internal Facebook records that were obtained via the court proceedings.

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Facebook has made video central to its growth for years, convincing advertisers and media organizations alike that they should redirect investment to video content.

Facebook released a statement saying that the error has been corrected and provided various explanations that seem to downplay the seriousness of the error. However, by discarding shorter video views, the company also arrived at higher average watch times.

Their case hinges on the fact that the numbers provided by Facebook meant advertisers put more money into its video ads than those on other platforms.

According to Crowd Siren, an online marketing agency, Facebook knew about the misinterpreted figures in early 2015, but disclosed it only in 2016 where it said the average view time was inflated by 60 percent to 80 percent and it impacted unpaid posts, Ad Age reportedw.

The skewed metrics did not relate to paid advertisements, but they could have misled brands into thinking that Facebook (fb) was a livelier video platform than it actually was, and some small advertisers sued the platform following its admission. They allege the company engaged in unfair business conduct by disseminating inaccurate metrics that significantly overestimated the amount of time users were spending watching video ads. Some news publishers figuring out how to allocate staff began a "pivot to video" strategy, which may have been based on incorrect data.

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