Facebook Says Critical Bugs Caused Misreporting Of Metrics, Promises Quick Fix


Facebook Mobile and Page Insight Reporting Bug

In its quick and efficient attempt to speed up Google Android and Apple iOS apps, the team at Facebook accidentally deleted critical code used to gather data about a news feed posts by Pages. The company announced on Friday that the missing code resulted in Page Insights being misreported. The mistake resulted in page administrators believing their posts had reached less people than they actually did.

Facebook says bug fixes are already being rolled out and accurate reporting of numbers will start showing up on Monday. Unfortunately data for legacy numbers will not be available since there was no measure in place to collect that data at the time of the bug.

While page updates were sent to mobile users the company simply didn’t gather than analytics data correctly, thus resulting in lower than expected engagement numbers via Facebook Insights.

Facebook Ad, App and Payment Insights were unaffected thanks to additional quality control monitoring used by Facebook to ensure those systems are running smoothly.

According to a Facebook rep:

“As part of our ongoing investment in Page Insights, we recently completed a comprehensive engineering audit of the product. During this audit we uncovered bugs that impacted impression and reach reporting. We have confirmed that these issues impacted reporting only and not delivery. Ad Insights were not impacted by these bugs.”

It was also discovered that another bug caused desktop news feed ads to be counted twice as both organic impressions and paid impressions. With some impressions counted twice and some impressions not counted at all Insight users were essentially seeing incorrect data across the board.

After receiving numerous complaints about the Insights numbers Facebook performed a full Page Insights audit and within a few hours the social networks engineers discovered the problem.

Facebook assigned 10 engineers to the problem and over a three week period they performed bug fixes and additional audits. The programmers also built monitoring systems to avoid such a big bug issue in the future.

According to the Facebook Business Blog they expect most Pages to see:

  • Total reach to stay the same or increase for most Pages
  • An increase in paid reach if you ran News Feed ads
  • An increase or decrease in organic reach, depending on many factors such as the composition of your fan base, when and how often you post and your spending patterns
  • A change in metrics computed from reach and impressions, such as engagement rate and virality
  • We know that accurate data is fundamental to building and improving your Facebook presence. We are taking this very seriously. We have already put a number of additional quality and verification measures in place to prevent future bugs and resolve them quickly if they arise.

The company’s announcement ends with:

“We appreciate your patience and we are committed to constantly improving and investing in the quality of Page Insights.”

It will be interesting to see how much page metrics increase following Monday’s bug fixes.


James Kosur

James Kosur has worked in the new media space for the last 10 years, helping many publications build their audiences to millions of monthly readers. He currently serves as the Director of Business Development at Business2Community.com and the CEO of Aven Enterprises LLC.

4 Comments

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  1. James- something I cant find is how long the "bug" has been an issue. Was it a week? A month? Since the dawn of time? Any word from sources on how long its been impacting the analytics we've seen?

  2. Mike.The bug occurred during the last major release. Facebook built the upgrade from the ground up, replacing HTML5 code with faster native iOS and Android coding.