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Facebook inflated video-viewing metrics for two years

Knowing how popular videos are is critical for advertisers to know what works and what doesn’t,according to the newspaper, a new metric is being introduced to correct the problem.

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FILE - A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013. Yahoo
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Sept 27,2016: Facebook has revealed, it overestimated the amount of time people spent on the site watching videos over the time period of two years.

“We recently discovered an error in the way we calculate one of our video metrics,” the company said in a statement. “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.”

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One ad buying firm, Publicis Media, told The Wall Street Journal that the social media behemoth overestimated the amount by between 60 and 80 percent, calling the problem “unacceptable.”

Knowing how popular videos are is critical for advertisers to know what works and what doesn’t. Traffic metrics also drive ad pricings. According to the newspaper, a new metric is being introduced to correct the problem.

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The problem stemmed from what Facebook called the “average duration of video viewed,” which sounds self-explanatory, but the social media giant was not counting views of fewer than three seconds. This drastically inflated the numbers.

Facebook has said it fixed the issue, but Publicis says the problem shows the need for third-party verification of Facebook metrics. (VOA)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)