Using large numbers to impress the impressionable

Facebook puts out a press release proclaiming that it removed “583 million fake accounts, 836 million spam posts in the first 3 months of 2018.” The “laugh track” was...


Jeffkoons

Facebook puts out a press release proclaiming that it removed “583 million fake accounts, 836 million spam posts in the first 3 months of 2018.”

The “laugh track” was supposed to be: “Wow, Facebook has really done so much to combat fake accounts and spam posts.”

If you have numbersense, you realize this is a classic example of Roslingese: a pile of numerators without denominators.

All that line tells me is that there are lots of accounts created and lots of posts on Facebook. Those numbers seem too BIG to be credible. For example, Mashable reported in 2017 that “Facebook now reaches 1.86 billion monthly active users, having added 70 million users in the quarter.” Putting these together, Facebook is claiming that in one quarter, it is adding 70 million net accounts but removed 583 million fake accounts.

What we need is what proportion of fake accounts, and what proportion of spam posts were removed.



Source link

Categories
Science
No Comment

Leave a Reply

*

*

RELATED BY