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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) user data to be keenly watched by markets

Facebook Inc(NASDAQ:FB) will be announcing its first quarter earnings on Wednesday and one of the things that analysts and investors will want to know is the actual number of users the social media platform has.

There has always been something rather vague about the prodigious number of users that Facebook claims to have on its network, but a fresh controversy has risen after a report in UK’s Guardian newspaper this week.

The report with a headline which screamed, “Facebook loses millions of users as biggest markets peak,” said that the company had lost 6 million US visitors last month, and shed 1.4 million in the UK.

It cited analytics firm Socialbakers for the data.

After the report appeared, Socialbakers’ Chief Executive said in a blog that the report was wrong and that the data had been misinterpreted. But by that time the damage had already been done as several news sites had already picked up the story.

“Sometimes, journalists get stats wrong,” Socialbakers Chief Executive Jan Rezab wrote in the post. “The Facebook stats found on our page are not primarily intended for journalists, but rather ad estimates for marketers.”

The dispute about Facebook users is nothing new because Facebook itself distinguishes between accounts and active users. Monthly active users that the report talks about is a statistic that measures the number of people who have been active on their Facebook accounts during a 30-day period.

Rezab said that the monthly active users is “one of the fairest methods of measurement in the industry and has been used since the days of social messaging platforms.”

Facebook should be ready with some answers in a few hours from now.



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