Facebook Confirms Tab Application User Count Bug, Plans Fix Today

Facebook has confirmed that a bug in Application Insights is causing views of tab applications to not be counted. This has dropped the daily active user count to zero or very few and decreased the monthly active user count for tab applications. The bug’s status has been set to “ASSIGNED” and Facebook has told us it should be fixed today.

Insights has experienced significant fluctuations in the past, typically due to bugs in user count reporting, or the fixes of those bugs. These cause apps and Pages counts to suddenly drop, then jump back up to reflect the actual changes in usage during the bug period. Facebook’s native analytics system for Pages, applications, and Open Graph websites, was overhauled at this year’s f8 conference,

According to Facebook’s Platform team, the following actions are registered by Insights and increase MAU and DAU counts as of January 2009, those these may have changed since:

  • mock ajax request
  • fbml link click
  • canvas page view
  • click-to-play swf
  • message attachment
  • fbjs ajax
  • accepting a request
  • viewing a profile tab
  • publishing something via a publisher

The tab application reporting bug was submitted on November 29th, confirmed by Facebook on November 30th, and affects reporting as far back as November 22nd. The impact of the bug can be seen on the AppData graph of November DAU for popular tab application BandPage by RootMusic shown above. Notice the drop from 544,555 DAU to only 11,089 on November 24th. This is turn decreases the MAU count, in this case dropping BandPage below the 10 million user milestone it reached in mid-November.

Accurate user counts can be crucial to developers, who use Insights to track the influence of design changes on engagement and demonstrate success to investors. Many developers were alarmed and disgruntled by the bug — something Facebook is seeking to avoid as it tries to improve relations with the ecosystem as part of Operation Developer Love. While bugs can be difficult to prevent, notifying developers as soon as possible via a message on Insights could reduce confusion and ill will.

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