Facebook to face a lawsuit for miscalculating video metrics

Irving Hamilton
October 20, 2018

Furthermore, its activity was described as "likely to deceive" advertisers.

Facebook is denying new filings brought Tuesday in an ongoing lawsuit by advertisers around its handling of faulty video advertising metrics, Ad Age reported. However, the lawsuit claims that the average view times were inflated up to 900 percent.

Facebook moved to dismiss the fraud claim, stating the lawsuit is baseless and that it informed customers of the problem with its metrics when it was discovered. Of course Facebook released a statement downplaying the validity of the lawsuit "Suggestions that we in any way tried to hide this issue from our partners are false", the company said in a statement.

As part of their case, they have viewed thousands of internal Facebook records and claim these show the company knew about the issue in 2015. Views are only when a video is watched for three seconds or more, not any time the video is played. But new revelations claim that Facebook has been falsely jacking up their video ad viewership numbers by more than ten times that amount. At the time, the company said that it had overestimated the "average duration of video viewed" metric by 60% to 80%.

After the Cambridge Analytica fiasco and the recent security breach of millions of accounts' private data, Facebook is now in the headlines due to litigation from a small group of advertisers alleging that it withheld information regarding a video metric goof-up for a year. The complaint goes beyond the obvious misleading, alleging that Facebook actively committed fraud by failing to correct the issue for two years despite knowing of its existence. For example, in May 2017 it issued refunds to some advertisers after admitting that it told them people had clicked on their video ads even if those users were just trying to resize the video carousel.

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Facebook now has a dedicated metrics team and allows third parties and experts to review its measurements regularly.

The plaintiffs argue that the inaccurate figure induced advertisers to spend more on Facebook video advertising than they would have otherwise.

But Tuesday's filings allege Facebook falsely pumped up statistics by 150 to 900 percent.

At launch, Facebook said the Portal devices were designed with privacy in mind from the beginning, pointing features such as a plastic clip that slides over the camera and a physical off button.

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