Facebook has uncovered an engineering bug in Page Insights that affected the reporting of analytics on those pages, potentially giving Page managers inaccurate information on how many users were viewing and interacting with their posts and how wide an audience Pages have gathered on the platform. Engineers are working to fix the Page Insights bug by Monday.
The news is concerning for Facebook, which is making a serious push to get marketers and advertisers to invest in the Facebook platform as a place to reach fans and customers, which Facebook emphasized in its most recent earnings call. The company will be discussing some of the engineering challenges it faces at our upcoming Structure Data conference in New York in March.
Page Insights allow managers to check how many people are viewing or liking their Page and the content that’s associated with or published to that Page. Facebook wrote that Ad Insights (the reports and feedback users recieve after buying an ad or promotion to run on Facebook) were not affected by the same engineering bug that caused misreporting.
The company wrote on its engineering blog Friday that Page managers should continue checking their stats to look for changes, and by next week those numbers should be more accurate. Facebook emphasizes that the bug did not affect actual delivery of information, just the feedback that Page managers might have seen so far:
“As part of our ongoing investment in Page Insights, we recently completed a comprehensive engineering audit of the product. During this audit we uncovered bugs that impacted impression and reach reporting. We have confirmed that these issues impacted reporting only and not delivery. Ad Insights were not impacted by these bugs.
The actual impact of the bugs will vary from Page to Page and day to day based on a number of factors such as when and how frequently you post. To see the overall impact, if any, on your individual Pages, we recommend looking at your organic, paid and viral reach and impressions for your Page and for your posts over the next few weeks, starting on Monday, February 25. Because these bugs impacted our logging systems we won’t be able to backfill Page Insights with historical data.”
Facebook wrote that once the stats are corrected, Page managers could see their total reach stay the same or increase, paid reach increase, and organic reach increase or decrease. That is quite a variety of possible outcomes once the stats are fixed, and is likely to annoy those who are responsible for managing their organization’s Facebook presence.