Column: Not only cost $ 40 million on Facebook's false video items, but they did more damage


Facebook managed to expel itself from its many scandals last week on the cheap, paying $ 40 million in cash to resolve allegations that it had defrauded advertisers by putting false estimates on viewers. video announcements in 2016 and 2017.

In the universe of Facebook, this is the best cumpiest change. Last year, the company raised profits of more than $ 22 billion, on revenue of $ 55.8 billion, so that it could cover the $ 40 million bill out of about 16 hours of profits.

However, the vaunted “pivot to video” damage in the media and advertising industries was significantly greater in 2016 and 2017, and is still felt. Based on what Facebook described as a promise to become an “all-video” platform, average companies were relying on their audience of about 2 billion tiles in video production.

If we already look, there is a year-on-year reduction in the text. If I bet, I would say: video, video, video.

Nicola Mendelsohn Facebook gets the wrong thing, 2016

News organizations set out descriptors and text-oriented editors about the score, making room for videographers and producers.

Many of those sites quickly found that Facebook demands that they didn't want to be promoted by Facebook demands. Website traffic was discussed. Within about a year, some online publishers were announcing videos recurring – partly because Facebook had set up videos from outside sites on their own pages.

The Facebook flirtation with the video is not repeated misleading but is blamed on social media company. The largest is to overcome the privacy of Facebook users through the Cambridge Analytica mining firm, a Facebook customer; this resulted in the Federal Trade Commission imposing a fine of $ 5-billion imposed in July.

But the video advertising relationship is one of the more expensive and long-term disputes associated with the company. According to a lawsuit filed by a group of advertisers in Oakland federal court in 2016, the issue dates back to 2014 when the company started supplying its advertisers with statistics showing how much time the average user spent viewing their video ads . These were vital numbers, as they helped advertisers to judge the effectiveness of their expenditure on the platform.

The video provided to advertising clients was in line with the wider Facebook strategy. In June 2016, Facebook executive Nicola Mendelsohn announced that the company's platform was “all video” within five years – meaning that the word was essentially dead.

“If we look already, we have a year-on-year decline in the text,” said Mendelsohn at the Fortune magazine conference in London. “If I had a bet, I'd like to say: video, video, video.” That's because video is the best way to tell stories in this world, where we have so much information coming to us. It provides so much information in a much faster period. So really the trend helps us to gather more information. ”

reuter rex 2019.png

On all ages, users prefer text online over video.

(Oxford University)

Mendelsohn's claims were information content and video accessibility compared to text, and about the future of his platforms, just wrong. But a vacuum spiel counts in the information sectors about what worked online.

As the advertisers learned in 2016, however, Facebook numbers were false. Less than three seconds' comments were ignored by the company – that is, all hours that a user scrolled over a video that was not being registered at all. Therefore, the resulting formula resulted in an over viewing of the average viewing time, considering adjudicators' judgments. Facebook said that it had promptly corrected the error after its discovery and made a public announcement to that effect in September 2016. Facebook told a number of advertisers that the error in viewing time increased by 60% to 80%.

The complainants say in the federal issue that Facebook is still happening. They allege that the company's engineers knew about the errors for more than a year before the public announcement, and that "medium-sized about 150 to 900% were in the average media audience." They also say that Facebook demonstrated “reckless disregard” with the accuracy of its metrics, without deepening the engineering team assigned to fix the errors and putting in place a “no PR” strategy to hide its progress.

The complainants, who wanted to make their law as a class act, say they could recover damages of as much as $ 200 million in the trial, but chose to settle them instead of $ 40 million because of fortune protection Facebook – he repeatedly tried to throw the case out of court – the result was too uncertain. Of the $ 40 million, the lawyers lawyers collect about $ 12 million.

All sites that have made a video or employee who have lost their jobs in the video – have nothing.

Facebook deserves to blame the loved ones. The truth is that there was never enough evidence to suggest that online users really liked videos, particularly when they were seeking information. It was understood that the video was to be fueled by occasional viral clips. But these queries were often underdeveloped, such as the famous BuzzFeed 2016 strike (currently at 11 million Facebook views).

And there is little logic behind the argument that the video vision is the best way to communicate with audiences who have been pressed for some time and face multiple demands for its attention. As I pointed out when Mendelsohn first introduced the all-time video strategy for Facebook, the video is not really smaller than the text in fact, conveying facts, figures, data and other hard information.

a digitay fox is turning traffic.png

The traffic at the Fox Sports website fell after moving to a heavy video format, although there may have been other factors contributing to the slide. Other websites highlighting video over a text left a similar deterioration.


The video is a linear medium: You must set the frame off with a frame to find what it is saying. The text can be absorbed in blocks; search the eye for keywords or names or other tips such as quotes. In addition, it is usually possible to search the text online, a function that still functions highly on video.

It takes a typical hour of “Meet the Press” (that is) 47 minutes of programming rather than advertisements, but its transcript, which contains about 10,000 words, can be scanned in a few minutes. If you want to get the moment in full episode Sunday of the adventure when Chuck Todd upbraided Sen Ron Johnson, R-Ohio, missing "to make Donald Trump feel better" by filibustering on the air, you would have to reel through nine minutes of video, but you could search it and find in the blink of an eye in the transcript.

The ways in which video clips are pressed on users also work against their convenience and acceptance. Typically an ad lasting 15, 30, or even 60 seconds. (Facebook tried to move ads to the center of the clips, but as it appears that users would take the ads as a signal to abandon the clip rather than wait for it to restart again, the test was abandoned quickly.) See clip see until the soundtrack begins to explode from phones or laptops.

The video is not suitable for multi-decoration. See a clip while walking on the street, you could walk into a light post; watching while you are driving, you will get a ticket or go in a ditch. That is why podcasts have become more popular – they can be listened to when carrying out tasks around the house or even commuting.

User resistance to getting news through a video is well described. The video text prefers the majority of users in all age groups, according to a survey published earlier this year by the Reuters Institute for Journalism Studies at Oxford University. Approximately 70% of the 35 and the oldest text are preferred over video. In the 18-24 age group, a strong majority of 58% of text is selected, while 15% prefer “mainly video” – the largest proportion of any age group.

Consumers are denied online news because of the effort to access videos and news you can use from them.

Consumers are denied online news because of the effort to access videos and news you can use from them.

(Oxford University)

The main reasons for this option, according to a 2016 report from the same institution, were that users had read “quicker and more convenient” than watching a video, and that they were presented with “roll in advance announcements”.

None of this is to say there is no place for videos on digital platforms.

The video-size videos traded among friends or promotional products are stock and Snap trading Inc. and Instagram Facebook product. The video is the ideal medium to communicate the presence of a dynamic incident, whether it was a rocket in Florida or a street exhibition in Hong Kong. A video interview with a person in the middle of a news event can express a feeling in a way that only the most able writer can communicate in print. Long-term documentaries have been valuable formats on Netflix and YouTube, among other platforms, for storytelling – but they are not suitable for viewing through an iPhone on the fly.

Perhaps the video is better than the text for entertainment and marketing. This is because their goal is to draw attention, not to communicate – and color, movement, noise and light can be used to draw attention.

But there is still uncertainty about the role of the video in communicating hard information. More young people are more involved in video, but the move is happening more slowly than many people expected even a few years ago. Online, the text is still a king. The written word can focus on the attention of people who are shrinking in ways the video is not there. Maybe it was Facebook that was known from the beginning. Otherwise, the advertisers ask a lawsuit, why would it provide the numbers?


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