ArticlesFacebook Bug

Welcome to another edition of our Famous Bugs series! In this post, we’ll cover the Facebook bug that we’re (maybe) thankful isn’t an actual feature.

If you’re human, you’ve wondered how many people really see your posts on Facebook. Well, thanks to a bug in Facebook’s mobile app last year, for a brief moment of brutal honesty, you could do just that. The bug let you see the exact number of view counts on any photo, article, or video link, which is similar to the way Facebook currently displays the number of views under videos.

The truth is that nothing you share will ever get as many views as that BuzzFeed quiz about which Game of Thrones character you are. Actually, the accumulation of all the views you get in your lifetime will probably never be as popular as any one Tasty video.

Facebook later confirmed that the bug only affected its mobile site and was quick to resolve the issue. The view counts no longer appear on user posts but we did get a glimpse of how relative the visibility of content is on the social network.

Verge reporter Nick Statt shared how his non-public commentary related to a Doritos article racked up almost four million views while Facebook’s Facebook page (how about that for a mindbender) post about promoting global internet access reached only 75,000 views even though the page has over 160 million likes. The disparity sounds outrageous, but then again it likely reflects society’s real interests.


Facebook Bug


It’s safe to say that Facebook has no future intentions of displaying view counts on user posts and certainly for good reason (#stalkeralert). And it doesn’t have to, since we as a public have already accepted the fact that we feed content into Facebook’s black box of algorithms and let it do its work.

In fact, a Stanford study shows that your post will only reach about 35% percent of your friends. The view counts will probably be more disappointing than inspiring, so it’s probably best hidden so as to preserve people’s self-esteem.

Companies and media organizations have been battling the problem of trying to reach bigger audiences for years and many have invested heavily in growing their number of page likes. However, it seems that only Facebook knows the secret ingredients that go into the News Feed. That’s until the next bug bites and we find out how insignificant we really are.