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article imageFacebook bug lets users see view counts for every post and page

By James Walker     Oct 15, 2015 in Internet
Some users of Facebook's mobile site are being shown view counts next to every post on the social network, letting them see just how many times their own content has been seen as well as how popular friends' posts are.
Reports of the bug first appeared online yesterday when some visitors to profiles, pages and posts found an extra statistic had been added to the usual publicly displayed number of likes and shares on a piece of content. Facebook apparently also stores individual view counts for its own internal usage and a bug on its mobile site yesterday let some members of the general public gain access to this hidden information.
The metric reveals exact details on the number of times posts have been seen, even if they originate from a friend or page. The Verge reports that the view counts look similar to the newly-added (and intentional) ones displayed under videos but in this case, every type of content has its own counter, visible to the entire world.
The number of people reading news articles, clicking through links or looking at content by brands and companies is available for public display. It has already yielded some interesting statistics such as how a post on Facebook's own page yesterday accumulated only 75,000 views despite the company having over 165 million likes.
Mashable reports that Facebook confirmed the addition of view counts alongside content is a bug and not a feature inadvertently launched early in error. A spokesperson said the counters were accidentally made visible to some users but will now be removed. The site is working on a fix that will be rolling out today.
Several users took to rival platform Twitter to complain about what initially appeared to be a deliberate update. Twitter itself provides a fully-fledged analytics suite available to all of its users but it appears as though Facebook adding a similar option wouldn't go down as well. Disconcerted users said seeing view counts on private posts shared with friends was "creepy," "stalkerish" and "just wrong."
Only the owners of Facebook pages have direct access to the equivalent of a view count metric. Known as "Reach," it allows businesses and publishers to gauge how many people interact with their posts but does not function in entirely the same way as direct view counts.
Facebook told the Verge it has no plans to add such a feature to every post on its network as such an ability would undermine the idea of putting content at the centre while abstracting the numbers around it. The fluke on the mobile site let some users gain a deeper insight into the actual daily visitor numbers of major organisations, news sites and friends but such a capability isn't something Facebook wants its users to have. A Facebook representative told CTV News that the bug was fixed on Thursday, a day after users first noted the appearance of the view counters.
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