A Facebook Promise: Good As Gold

December 3, 2020

Oops. A Facebook algorithm’s mistake is causing the company to offer apologies and refunds, we learn from CNBC’s article, “Facebook to Reimburse Some Advertisers After Miscalculating Effectiveness Data.” Citing a report from Ad Exchanger, writer Lucy Handley informs us:

“The company’s ‘conversion lift’ tool suffered a glitch that reportedly affected thousands of ads between August 2019 and August 2020. Facebook fixed the error in September and is now offering a credit to clients ‘meaningfully affected’ by the bug. Conversion lift helps brands understand how ads lead to sales, using a ‘gold-standard methodology’ that links ads on Facebook’s platforms, including Instagram, to business performance, according to an explanation of the tool on Facebook’s website. The free tool shows ads to separate test and control groups and then compares sales conversions for each. Then, based on the results of the study, an advertiser can decide how much to spend on the social network.”

Though the error was discovered and fixed in September, the company is just now getting around to informing clients. According to Facebook, a “small number” of advertisers were affected, though what that behemoth considers a small number is unclear. Handley reminds us:

“This isn’t the first time Facebook has admitted mistakes in reporting. In September 2016, it said it overestimated the average time people spent viewing video ads over a two-year period, and in 2017 a report found that Facebook claimed to reach more people in some U.S. states and cities than official population data said existed in those areas.”

Yep, Facebook is starting 2021 with its true colors flying. I suppose it is nice to see some things remain consistent.

Cynthia Murrell, December 3, 2020


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