January 16th, 2019
In December, New York Magazine dropped an atom bomb on digital media. And no, I don’t mean this story on Snapchat filters for dogs.
The day after Christmas, tech reporter Max Read analyzed and synthesized reports from the Justice Department, a New York Times report on follower factories, one of many lawsuits against Facebook, a list from MarketingLand, and takedowns of YouTube, Instagram influencers, and deepfakes, all to conclude that digital metrics are fake and overinflated. We’re all just soaked in a seven layer dip of made-up, falsified baloney.
According to the article, roughly half of traffic and engagement is fraudulent. As if that wasn’t damning enough, Reddit’s ex-CEO Ellen Pao shared the article on Twitter, adding, “It’s all true: Everything is fake.” For many of us who make a living analyzing web metrics, it was a confusing time. I stopped checking Twitter for a full week, sitting in my kitchen like Dr. Manhattan on the moon, asking myself why I didn’t just go to law school.
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