Didn't We Already Do This? Press Relies On Questionable Stats To Claim Instagram Lost Half Its Users

from the they-didn't dept

Ah, whatever happened to good, old fashioned, fact checking. It was just a few weeks ago that many people were writing about how the press had been confused by data claiming a massive drop in Instagram users following its terms of service kerfuffle. Of course, it later came out that the data from Appdata, was suspect, as it only looked at Instagram usage on Facebook, despite the fact that most Instagram usage is done directly through its app on mobile phones. So here we are a few weeks later... and a bunch of news sources, including Wired, are reporting that Instagram has lost half of its daily users. This is based on data from a different organization, AppStats, but appear to suffer from the exact same flaw: it only looks at app usage on Facebook, which is a minority of Instagram usage. There may or may not be trouble with Instagram usage, but shouldn't the press by now be at least a little skeptical of claims based on dodgy data?


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    G Thompson (profile), Jan 15th, 2013 @ 8:22pm

    it only looks at app usage on Facebook

    This is logical and quite correct - for those people who think Facebook IS the internet and anything else is just to support Facebook and it's never ending egocentric quest to make everyone be relevant only to themselves.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2013 @ 8:58pm

    Anecdotal, but virtually everyone I know on Twitter has also ditched it.

     

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      Ehud Gavron (profile), Jan 15th, 2013 @ 9:08pm

      Re: "Anecdotal"

      You've missed the point of the article.

      It's not about whether Instagram lost 50% of its users.

      It's about news stories citing sources that used flawed methodology without checking it. Instagram is just the instant case.

      E

       

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    Nut Job, Jan 15th, 2013 @ 9:25pm

    I would expect better from wired.

    The MSM have been nothing but a Parrot for the Government, and corporations for so long, they have no idea how to fact check anymore.

    Rahhhh. Polly want a headline?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2013 @ 10:44pm

    It's a simple case of perception becoming fact. Most people do understand this, even if it's only because of bad things that happen to them. If you say that something is on its way out, and nothing obvious disproves that statement, then people believe it. This is especially true when people have an incentive for believing it.

     

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    SolkeshNaranek (profile), Jan 15th, 2013 @ 10:54pm

    shouldn't the press by now be at least a little skeptical of claims based on dodgy data?

    Why?

    The recording industry uses dodgy data to weep about piracy.

    Politicians cite dodgy data to pass laws.

    So called grass roots organizations use dodgy data to make false claims.

    Telecoms use dodgy data to get spectrum and subsidies.

    Cable companies use dodgy data to increase sub fees.

    Everybody is doing it.

    The truth, along with fact checking, left town a long time ago.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jan 16th, 2013 @ 1:20am

    More deja vu. It is gonna be one of those days.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jan 16th, 2013 @ 3:24am

    Torture any dataset enough and it'll tell you whatever you want. Since modern 'journalism' has lost its ability to analyze anything critically one just have to do some basic torturing and release it in the wild. There will be few questioning it and it will become the norm.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2013 @ 4:06am

    I have lost all faith in 'factual' reporting. Every time I read about something and start to form an opinion about it, I see a new 'study' that counteracts the first thing I read. There are no facts in the 21st century.

     

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    Ben S (profile), Jan 16th, 2013 @ 7:40am

    lol Wired

    Tried posting a link to this on the comments of that UK Wired article, but their moderators never approved it. I wonder why? ;)

     

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    Gregg, Jan 16th, 2013 @ 8:16am

    Are we getting smarter as the human race progresses or are we getting dumb-down?

     

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