Critical Facebook Bugs Result In Incorrect Fan Page Data

By Stevie Sleeter, Content & Social Media Manager

Published: February 25, 2013

After a plethora of external audits and complaints, Facebook admitted Friday to a handful of critical bugs throughout the software that have misrepresented page reach data for months. The metrics found in the Page Insights dashboard of each Facebook Fan Page have been incorrect; leading page admins to believe their posts reached fewer people than they actually did. Bug fixes will begin rolling out today.

Coupled with the last updates and significant algorithm changes in August and December, it appears Facebook stripped out too much data regarding news feed posts – making algorithm changes seem more severe than they were.

These bugs only impacted impression reach and reporting. Page posts were not affected and appeared to fans as expected, except for the fact that they were counted wrong. Facebook advertising and Ad Insights were also unaffected by the bugs; no one was over or undercharged for ads.

So, what is the impact on company fan pages? They’re likely to see increases in key metrics, including impressions and reach, as Facebook’s issues are addressed and corrected. These updated metrics will paint a clearer, more accurate picture of a page’s actual performance.

According to Facebook, with the corrections most pages should expect:

  • Total reach to stay the same or increase
  • 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

The problems arose from recent Facebook updates meant to speed up slow iOS and Android app performance. With the release of newer, quicker versions, Facebook only transmitted the minimum amount of information needed to display news feed stories. In doing so, Facebook mistakenly stopped sending the markers that Page Insights used to count how many people saw each Page’s posts. As users upgraded to the faster apps, their views of Page posts in those apps stopped being counted, and Page Insights showed admins were getting fewer feed impressions for their posts than they actually were.