by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
data, journalism

appdata, instagram, ny post

Doing Data Journalism Badly

from the flop dept

While there was a lot of rhetoric concerning the Instagram terms of service mess recently, most observers of these kinds of things noted that for all the claims from people that they were "quitting" the service, few people ever actually follow through on such threats. So, it surprised some this morning when the NY Post reported that Instagram users actually did flee in large droves, citing data from a company called AppData. They argued that there was a potential 25% decline in users, which is huge. The news apparently contributed to Facebook's stock dropping by nearly 3%... despite the claim being almost entirely bogus.

Even a quick look at the data that AppData presented should have raised some eyebrows:
As lots of folks pointed out, starting with Zachary Seward at Quartz (linked above), the drop shown does not occur until December 24th... a good week after the whole controversy went down. Furthermore, AppData does not measure all Instagram usage at all, but the small subset of people who have connected their Instagram accounts to their Facebook accounts. But most people just use Instagram as a mobile app, and AppData doesn't measure that.

Meanwhile, Robin Wauters over at TheNextWeb does a brilliant job of showing plenty of other services that AppsData's "data" also shows "plunged" during the same time period, including Yahoo! Social bar, which shot up... and then back down:
Or Pinterest, which dropped a bunch during that same time period:
Wauters lists a bunch of other examples as well, all suggesting that maybe the original claim by AppData, repeated by the NY Post (and then others) had little basis in reality.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    out_of_the_blue, 28 Dec 2012 @ 5:01pm

    "Doing Data Journalism Badly" -- Yes, you are.

    Oh, wait. You're apparently still under your own illusions.

    Yes, you can rely on dolts to remain dolts no matter how obviously exploited by greedy corporations. "If you're not paying for the product, you are the product", and "products" aren't very bright. Just at the moment, I think they should be made into Soylent Green, but perhaps that will pass.

    Take a moment for Mike "Streisand Effect" Masnick and click:
    Actual unsolicited testimonial: "Until I read, I didn't know what shameless self-promotion was!"

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.