On February 22, Facebook announced that a bug has been affecting Page Insights reporting since as far back as August 2012. Announced on the same day a major security loophole was revealed and just a month after the company fell victim to a “sophisticated” attack on their internal systems and devices, the bug caused brand page Reach and potentially engagement and virality rates to be misreported.
In August 2012 and December 2012, Facebook released updates for iOS and Android apps to remedy speed and loading issues. The updates fixed the problem, but in the process, developers mistakenly removed too much data on Pages’ posts. When users upgraded, they started preventing the usual data markers from tracking how many times they saw a brand’s post pop up in their news feeds. At the same time, desktop news feed ads began being logged under organic and paid impressions. For the majority of Pages, admins received reports indicating fewer fans had seen their posts than was accurate, but a small number could have seen inflated numbers.
So, what does this mean for brand pages? Facebook has already beefed up its Page Insights staff and created a “war room” to exterminate all of the bugs. After working for three weeks, the company says Insights should be bug-free as of Monday, February 25 and that new monitoring systems will be implemented to catch future errors “instantly.” With older systems in place, the bug was actually only discovered because the team happened to do an Insights audit in late January. Although no major long-term damage will come out of this for users, it’s likely this will further affect brands’ faith in Facebook as a business-friendly platform. The setback is frustrating, but we tend to agree with TechCrunch on this one: “Software is software. Sometimes it has bugs.” Should Facebook have waited to address the issue until everything was fixed? Maybe not, but at least it was seemingly forthcoming about the details.
With aggressive monetization tactics and a controversial algorithm update, Facebook has fallen from grace a bit in users’ eyes, and this recent bout of trouble can’t be helpful. Will you be carrying on Facebook business as usual when brand pages return back to normal, or does this make you a little more wary of dealing with the king of social media?
Cohen, David. “Another Close Call For Facebook; Security Team Closes Loophole Reported By Developer.” allfacebook.com. N.p., 22 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://allfacebook.com/nir-goldshlager_b111353>.
Constine, Josh. “Facebook Admits Critical Bugs Caused Page Reach To Be Misreported For Months.” techcrunch.com . N.p., 22 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/22/facebook-insights-bugs/>.
Darwell, Brittany. “Facebook bug led page reach and impressions to be misreported.” insidefacebook.com. N.p., 22 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://www.insidefacebook.com/2013/02/22/facebook-bugs-led-page-reach-and-impressions-to-be-misreported/>.
Murphy, Samantha. “Facebook Says It Was Victim of ‘Sophisticated Attack’.” mashable.com. N.p., 15 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://mashable.com/2013/02/15/facebook-hacked-2/>.