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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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Twitter Gets Investigated By Ireland Over Data Collection

Both Facebook and Twitter have faced lawsuits for collecting data on links shared in private messages

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Twitter CEO
Twitter on a smartphone device. VOA

 Twitter is reportedly facing an investigation by privacy regulators in Ireland over data collection in its link-shortening system, the media reported.

Privacy regulators in Ireland have launched an investigation into exactly how much data Twitter collects from t.co, its URL-shortening system, The Verge reported late on Saturday.

The investigation stems from a request made by UK professor Michael Veale under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a comprehensive European privacy law under which EU citizens have a right to request any data collected on them from a given company.

Facebook, Twitter
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, left, accompanied by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey are sworn in before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on ‘Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms’ on Capitol Hill. VOA

But when Veale made that request to Twitter, the company claimed it had no data from its link-shortening service. The professor was sceptical, and wrote to the relevant privacy regulator to see if Twitter was holding back some of his data.

Now, that investigation seems to be underway. The investigation, first reported by Fortune, is confirmed in a letter obtained by The Verge, sent to Veale by the office of the Irish Data Privacy Commissioner, the report said.

Initially designed as a way to save characters in the limited space of a tweet, link-shortening has also proved to be an effective tool at fighting malware and gathering rudimentary analytics.

Twitter
Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

Those analytics services can also present a significant privacy risk when used in private messages.

Also Read: Facebook Tackles Fake News, Deletes Almost 800 Accounts

Both Facebook and Twitter have faced lawsuits for collecting data on links shared in private messages, although no wrong-doing was conclusively established in either case. (IANS)

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