Facebook’s terrible 2018 continues

Posted on October 23, 2018


Social media site Facebook has been copping a lot of flak in 2018 for many different reasons and the last week or so has been no different.

It has recently been reported that the world’s largest social media platform is being sued over inaccuracies relating to the video viewing figures it displayed. Furthermore, the company was aware of these inaccuracies as to how its tool measured the number of people viewing videos on the site, and had been for up to a year longer than it had previously admitted, according to court documents.

Newly published papers that make up US legal action against Facebook claim that the company knew about these discrepancies as far back as 2015 and had not found a way to remedy the problem.

Facebook itself has described this case as “without merit” and has stated that accusations that it had attempted to hide the problem were false.

Two years ago, in September 2016, the company admitted that it overestimated the viewing statistics for videos on the platform for two years. A statement from the company explained that it had told its customers about the problem when it was first discovered and that it had updated its help centre to highlight and explain it further.

According to Facebook, this issue affected the metric known as ‘average duration of video viewed’, a statistic that is meant to inform publishers of the average time people had watched a video for. However, it was revealed that the statistics did not include those who had only watched the content for under three seconds. This led to inflated viewing time averages for each video.

As a result of this issue, a number of smaller advertisers are suing the social platform on the basis of unfair business conduct and fraud. This is further fuelled because the higher the statistics, the more money it meant that advertisers were required to pump into Facebook.

The legal battle has been revealed at a similar time to a number of high-profile investors calling for company CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to step down from his role at the company. The calls come after a series of scandals and controversies, such as the above legal claim and the Cambridge Analytica revelations from earlier this year. These investors have called for Zuckerberg’s position to be made an independent one.

The proposals put forward by investors state that they are being put at risk by the company’s governance structure and that it should move in line with other major tech firms and have the roles of CEO and chairperson as separate positions.

These proposals will be pate of a vote at the next Facebook annual shareholder meeting, scheduled to take place in May next year. However, it could end up being purely symbolic as Zuckerberg has control over the board.

An Independent article from last week notes that some have compared Zuckerberg’s reign at the social site to a dictatorship, as he has a majority voting right within Facebook.

Operations Manager at Engage Web
Drawing from a broad pool of experience that ranges from university studies in English Language to his work as a medical receptionist in a busy GP practice, Alan fits right at home as Engage Web’s Operations Manager.
Alan Littler

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