Facebook fooled its advertisers for years to boost video advertising

For at least five years, Facebook encouraged media, brands and virtually anyone who wanted to grow quickly in the social network to make the transition to video. Nobody wanted to read about politics, just watch videos of recipes with a high caloric index and a nice little music.

However, it seems that Facebook’s strategy was not entirely clean. As reported by The Wall Street Journal , a new lawsuit filed by a group of advertisers from the US ensures that the people in charge of the social network knew since January 2015 that the numbers offered to advertisers were inflated and hid it until the following year.

And despite recognizing that there was a problem with the metrics of the videos, the inflation of numbers was made up to remove weight to the problem. According to Facebook, the numerical deviation in impressions and users reached was between 60% and 80%, but the new lawsuit alleges that the numbers came to be exaggerated between 150% and 900%.

Why was all this Facebook? The company has acknowledged that there was no bad intention and that it is an honest mistake, but the growth of brands and media that made more videos pushed many others to invest more money in creating that content and in sponsoring them on Facebook, with what the company entered much more money in advertising.Arguably, by not allowing an audit with external tools and only offer metrics and analysis made by their tools, Facebook exaggerated the figures of the videos on its platform to push other companies to pay for advertising on the social network.

Here’s the thing. Even if it was a mistake and not something intentional, Facebook kept quiet and did not report the problem until a long time passed. And, in the same way, it never allowed audits of third parties that could measure with other tools if the publication’s performance was really true or was falsified.Only recently has the Media Rating Council validated the information, three years after the first complaints from advertisers and two years after the first lawsuit against them.

Like Google, Facebook is an Internet company that lives by and for advertising, selling very specific data about its users to advertisers who want to reach them. The advertising pie in online video ads is growing in the US, close to 30 billion dollars in 2018, which is equivalent to a 30% growth with respect to 2017. At least 25 percent of that money would be pocketed the company of Mark Zuckerberg.