Facebook to Allow Independent Audit of Ad Data

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Facebook has agreed to provide information about the ads it displays via its platform for an independent audit by regulator the Media Rating Council (MRC).

The decision comes several months after the company admitted to overstating results on several key metrics which it provides to marketers, agencies and brands.

Among the artificially inflated metrics were average user time on videos, which discounted any views under three seconds, overestimating the view times by between 60 and 80 per cent. Since then, errors have been found with the average reading time of Instant Articles, the rate of referrals reported by Analytics for Apps and a tool which estimates an ads reach during its creation, among others.

Facebook initially announced that it would release internal corrections in the form of a regular metrics report without allowing independent verification, but now will provide exact figures to the MRC.

In addition, other verification partners will be provided with data on ad impressions for campaigns on both Facebook and Instagram, with millisecond-level in-view and duration data for display ads shared.

Marketers have welcomed the news from Facebook, which has been aiming to strengthen its ties with both brands and publishers over the past months following controversies surrounding the fake news problem.

“Facebooks actions on media transparency are a positive step forward, particularly coming from one of the largest media players in the industry,” said Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer for P&G.