This morning over muesli I read this TechRadar article about Facebook‘s growth, titled “Farmville is bigger than Twitter,” which breathlessly reports various exciting numbers, including this gem:
When it comes to the site’s online chat function, 1.6 billion messages are sent every single day and 1.4 million photos are uploaded a second.
Ok, so this photo number is wrong: 1.4million photos per second is 3.6 trillion per month, or roughly 20 photos uploaded for every person on the planet every day.
You could call this a typo, but the fact that not even very basic fact checking was done on this article makes all the other figures suspect as well.
But don’t worry, TechRadar, you’re not alone. A few weeks ago Fortune magazine reported about Facebook game Farmville that:
On any given day 500,000 tractors are sold on the Internet. But don’t start buying stock in John Deere or Caterpillar just yet. These are $20 “virtual” tractors that belong to the 50 million players of FarmVille, the largest and fastest-growing social game on the Internet.
That’s $10 million in tractor-revenue per day, or $3.6 billion a year. I’m sure Zynga is doing well, but not that well. Yet Fortune put this plainly-false figure in the lede of their article.
What’s going on here?
Not journalism, that’s for sure.