Facebook Vastly Overestimated Time Spent Watching Video

Oops.

Screen Shot 2016-09-23 at 9.02.57 AMFacebook has a video problem. The company has been vastly overestimating the amount of time users spend watching Facebook videos, and now publishers and advertisers are (rightfully so) pissed.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the ad buying giant Publicis Media was told by Facebook that its metric for tracking videos inflated video watch times by 60 to 80 percent. And that has been going on for the past two years. That, quite simply, is insane.

Of course Facebook has already issued a statement that everything is fine, and that the “error has been fixed,” but this is just the beginning.

Publishers flocked to Facebook video because they could tell advertisers about all the great metrics the site generated. Now that’s out the window, and so are the ad dollars that followed.

It’s a bad day for any media outlet that put time into Facebook videos, but it’s a lot worse for companies that have pinned their entire business strategy to the social network.