Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

Tech Updates

Facebook Knew for Years Ad Reach Estimates were based on ‘Wrong Data’ but Blocked Fixes over Revenue Impact, per Court Filing

7 min read


Facebook does not want to recognize more internally about Facebook: As COO Sheryl Sandberg has known for many years, the company provides marketers with a free marketing planning process to show the number of people who can run their platform on even a newly unsealed court document. Facebook offers a lot of information.

The report also shows that a Facebook product manager for this tool warns that perhaps the company “must never have” revenues out of “false data.” The report also states that

The unopened documents relate to a 2018 US class action complaint, which claims that Facebook has misled publicists by delivering a “potential reach” metric of fake and duplication accounts.

The assertion is denied on Facebook; however, the “potential reach” metric was recognized as accurate as far back as 2016 — and the reason it happened in 2019 was modified.

While the lawsuits continued to accuse Facebook that it continues in its new features on their 2018 objection to mischaracterize the ad reach estimates.

Documents mostly on the case revealed last year by the WSJ included the uncomfortable details that even an employee of Facebook asked, “How lengthy can we overestimate the reach?”

However, Sandberg, as well as other Facebook managers, had sections of their filings drawn up.

Newly unsecured documents from the lawsuit, which we have reviewed, now disclose Sandberg’s “acknowledgement of issues with potential reach for years throughout the fall of 2017” inside an internal email.

They, too, are showing that Facebook has turned down internal proposals on the problem of duplicate and bogus accounts that inflate its platform estimates and for the number of advertisers who would view their ads – citing their revenue effect as a purpose for not acting.

At the beginning of 2018, Facebook estimated that the removal of duplicate accounts would also trigger a potential decrease of 10 percent by the unsealed filing. Whilst Facebook management turned down a proposal by an employee to modify the language of advertisers, and the tool refused to exchange the phrases “accounts,” “people,” because “people-based advertising was a key part of Facebook’s value proposition.”

The document also reveals that Yaron Fidler, a product manager for “potential reach,” proposed a reparation to reduce the number of the tool. Facebook’s metrics leadership dismissed his proposition mostly on the grounds that it had a ‘substantial’ impact on revenues of the firm — with which Fidler replied: ‘We’re never supposed to have made this income because the company’s information is incorrect.’

The technology giant as well introduced a new channel for “regular information about metric enhancements” called Metrics FYI when Facebook published an update to metrics – a few weeks after this was publicized, there were over-inflating average video view times as advertisers wanted to recover faith in its reporting devices.

It then wrote that it “improved the methodology for sample size and trying to extrapolate potential audience sizes,” so it “helped make a more exact estimate for just a given criterion audience and make audiences extra aware of them through various platforms (Instagram, Facebook, and the Audience Network).” “This is why the information mentioned above on accuracy issues is not available.



“In certain cases, advertisers must expect that the audience sizes seen in the tool would alter less than 10% (decrease or increase),” it said at that time.

Even so, in the December 2016 blog post, Facebook assumed it needs to be changed — read as much about the nature of its accuracy problems, like such a classic Facebook conflict PR slice.

In contrast to the collective action, Facebook “developed talking points to deflect from the truth” rather than accepting domestic proposals to repair the accuracy problems of ‘potential reach.’

In March of 2019, the technology giant announced a few changes to the tool — because once he said that the estimated potential reach of an advertiser’s campaign “has been depending on the number of people who’ve shown an ad mostly on the Facebook product throughout the past 30 days that correspond to your desired audience and positioning criteria” (against the previous estimates of “people who’ve been regular members in the last 30 days”).

However, the litigants argue which change happens to a tool that provides advertisers via a guesstimate at the start of campaigning – and thus when determining whether or not to spend a lot of money on Facebook – do not resolve completely the metric issue that isn’t consistent with the potential audience of people who can really view the ad on Facebook.

An analyst’s 2017 report shows that the ad platform in Facebook claims to reach millions of users across specific age categories in the United States compared to official census data reported in the country.

Also, at the time, the company said the viewer needs to reach estimates by WSJ, “depend on a bunch of factors, including Facebook user behaviour, location data, user demographics on devices as well as other factors.” Facebook then introduced that it “always works to enhance our estimates.”

Questioned for the recent unsealed batch of legal documents, including revelations more about staff Facebook COO advised her that they had known the advertising tool “for years” until fall 2017; Facebook has sent us this declaration, which was attributed to a spokesperson: “These allegations are worthless; we would then protect yourself vigorously.” “These allegations are unfounded,” he said.


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