Lawsuit Alleges Facebook Inflated Video View Statistics to Fool Advertisers

18 October, 2018, 21:39 | Author: Regina Silva

Later, the group of advertisers added a claim of fraud, and in a filing on Tuesday they have now alleged that Facebook knew of the advertising metric bug as early as January 2015 and determined the nature of the miscalculation within months, but failed to disclose this information to advertisers for over a year.

LLE One also alleges that internal documents found that Facebook had never performed a full audit of its video metrics prior to September 2016 and that the video insights team - which was responsible for investigating and fixing errors - only had two engineers dedicated to fixing errors.

Facebook's growth is dependent on convincing advertisers that people are watching more video on its site, Bloomberg notes, and the company is battling to win back trust after finding evidence that Russians used the social network to meddle in the 2016 USA presidential election and revealing that hackers stole personal info on 29 million users.

"We told our customers about the error when we discovered it - and updated our help centre to explain the issue", it said in a statement.

"Facebook's internal efforts behind the scenes reflect a company mentality of reckless indifference toward the accuracy of its metrics", reads an amended complaint filed in California federal court Tuesday as part of a 2016 suit brought by plaintiffs including a Las Vegas ad agency and a Pennsylvania man who bought ad space on Facebook. They finally replaced that model with an "average watch time" metric that included shorter view times in 2016. Two years ago, when the news first emerged, it was reported that Facebook inflated the average time spent viewing ad clips by 60% to 80%.

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Meanwhile, the filing further claims that the problem was more severe than previously reported.

Facebook has filed a motion to dismiss these claims and says claims of fraud are false.

Facebook has been accused of misleading brands by not telling them for more than a year that it was overestimating the amount of time people spent watching videos on the platform.

Now, those claimants have filed an amended complaint. In it, the plaintiffs say that, as part of the discovery from their lawsuit, they have learned that Facebook's "action rises to the level of fraud and may warrant punitive damages". The now-filed lawsuit alleges that this allowed the company to inflate average watch metrics by up to 900%. "Facebook engineers knew for over a year".

"Suggestions that we in any way tried to hide this issue from our partners are false", a Facebook spokeswoman reportedly said.

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