Why Is Facebook Lying To Page Owners?

Even I’m getting over my anti-Facebook tirade at the moment, having recently called them out on manipulating people’s emotions and their great bait and switch on marketers. But they continue to grind my gears, and this time it’s as a page owner.

For those of you who run small pages, you’ll be familiar with these notifications that pop up regularly suggesting a post is “performing better than X% of other posts”.

These are just a few I’ve received through my hockey club’s Facebook page recently.

They are incredibly annoying, there’s no way to turn them off and one of the above I received a notification for seven times. But what I’m most interested in, is where this data comes from. What metrics is it based off, and over what time period? Facebook doesn’t provide any information that I could find, so I thought I’d see how accurate the figures were.

Without a date range or set of metrics, I have to make some assumptions. Facebook only allows me to review post data from April 2014 onwards (I’m not sure why), so that becomes my data set. And the three metrics I review are commonly reported on; unique reach, unique users engaged and engagement rate.

The first notification says that specific post performed better than 95% of other posts on the page. Of the 55 posts published at the time, that means it has to be in the top two. But upon analysis, it doesn’t come close, ranking 18th instead for reach, users engaged and engagement rate.

The second post would have to rank 15th or higher out of the 62 posts published at the time. Again not close at 48th for reach, 47th for engaged users and 37th for engagement rate.

The third post is a little better, also requiring a rank of 15th or higher out of 75 posts. It achieves this for reach (11th) and engaged users (12th), but not engagement rate (20th).

Happy to be corrected, but even this simplistic analysis tells us that Facebook is lying to page owners.

I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that each notification encourages you to spend money on promoting the post.

  • Dan Hanly
    Posted at August 14, 2014 11:07pm, 14 August Reply

    Maybe it's an internal standard, some kind of criteria that's not based off the obvious reach/likes/shares metric. I guess I'm just hesitant to believe that they are straight up lying to us. If it is an internal metric, they should make their criteria available.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at August 14, 2014 11:38pm, 14 August Reply

    Facebook doesn't provide metrics as you've stated, so they're lying to you? The whole internet is a lie!!!

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at August 14, 2014 11:51pm, 14 August Reply

    As I said in the post, happy to be proven wrong. The headline is clickbait for sure, but the point still stands that it looks like they're making shit up.

  • maninalift
    Posted at August 15, 2014 12:21am, 15 August Reply

    small typo confused me

    | performed 95% better than other posts on the page

    isn't the same as

    | performing better than 95% of other posts

  • Sergio Schuler
    Posted at August 15, 2014 1:14am, 15 August Reply

    It probably uses engagement/time. It ASSUMES the post will do much better, because it is getting engagement faster than others. This is my HUNCH, no proof whatsoever.

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at August 15, 2014 9:47am, 15 August Reply

    Updated, good pick up.

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at August 15, 2014 9:48am, 15 August Reply

    You could be right there, but without transparency we can't know for sure. That also means over time you'd get less of these messages right? Not every post can be a 'winning' one?

  • Anonymous
    Posted at August 28, 2014 3:59am, 28 August Reply

    I'm pretty sure its just a complete fabrication to somehow get you to pay facebook some money to promote your posts. According to facebook, virtually every post i make on my page is apparently performing better than 95% of other posts i've made, despite Facebooks own stats contradicting this.
    Its complete rubbish, but then most of the Facebook insights data appears to be fabricated, at least on my pages. I often have situations where i have more likes on a post than people who have seen it. It doesn't seem very likely.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at September 24, 2014 5:58pm, 24 September Reply

    Facebook HAS to be lying. I get this same message for every post that I make on my page. It's statistically impossible for every post I make to be performing 95% better than all other posts I've made. I

  • Ian White, Housecarers
    Posted at April 27, 2016 9:04am, 27 April Reply

    Yes I get that for my housesitting page. It is outright manipulation and you cant disguise it …. It is a LIE I get the same 95% message for all my posts. A recent one has reached 126 points. They can say oh its our algorithm. Then it is a lie of ommission . They must know about it and do nothing about it

  • Anonymous
    Posted at May 25, 2016 3:32pm, 25 May Reply

    Facebook is definitely lying to make money. They've been trying everything in the book to get us to pay them. We've been blocked from posting, labelled as spam and phishing, and they've even tried to stop us from uploading the pictures we want as part of the link.

  • Deb Marett
    Posted at June 20, 2016 3:48am, 20 June Reply

    Me too, it pops up for every post, including the ones that are total dogs. Facebook strikes again. I hate that I pretty much have to have a presence there, but it's a necessary evil. At least we all know it's evil, which is a tiny (very tiny) comfort.

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