Strange Things Are Afoot With Facebook Country Data

Facebook appears to have tweaked its process for reporting its user totals by country in its advertising data, according to social analytics firm Quintly.

Quintly reported in May that most reports about the social network’s users by country are based on Facebook’s advertising data, which are different from its official statistics, such as those reported prior to earnings calls. To illustrate this, Quintly said at the time that Facebook had reported 1.11 billion monthly active users at the end of the first quarter of this year, while the social network’s advertising data pegged that figure at 965 billion at the time.

However, Quintly wrote in a blog post that a reporting shift appears to have occurred:

Thanks to an email from one of our users this morning, we became aware of fundamental changes to the numbers in our Facebook country statistics section. As noted several times, our Facebook country statistics are based on Facebook advertising data. Just recently, there have been a lot of discussions regarding these statistics. The accusation was that the country stats sourced via Facebook advertising data didn’t represent the real amount of Facebook users for certain countries. And indeed, we also reported the obvious differences of user numbers between the official Facebook quarterly earnings report and the numbers shown in Facebook advertising data.

But now, it seems that Facebook changed the user numbers in its ads data significantly. As of (Wednesday), our Facebook country statistics show a total user count for the world of 1,060,067,980. That’s an extensive increase of more than 78 million new users, or 7.94 percent, within just one month. Every country in the top 10 seems to have added 1 million or more users. It is further noteworthy that now only rounded totals are displayed.

The biggest user correction was done for the U.S., with more than 9 million new users. Furthermore, notable user increases were made for Japan, with nearly 4.8 million new accounts, up 34.58 percent; and Nigeria, with an increase of 41.46 percent.

The biggest question remains: Are the Facebook country statistics based on ads data now compliant with the official earning reports?

Readers: Any ideas?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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