Facebook is being sued by a group of marketers for allegedly sitting on inflated video-view metrics for more than a year and misleading advertisers. The world's largest social networking platform has been under the microscope for various errors in the past and admitting to providing incorrect metrics to advertisers further draws flak.
A lawsuit has been filed against Facebook in California federal court for misleading advertisers and brands by lying about the average time users spent viewing online videos on its platform. Facebook is defending the misrepresentation charges saying the lawsuit is "without merit."
"This lawsuit is without merit and we've filed a motion to dismiss these claims of fraud. Suggestions that we in any way tried to hide this issue from our partners are false. We told our customers about the error when we discovered it - and updated our help center to explain the issue," a Facebook spokeswoman said in response to the lawsuit.
According to Crowd Siren, an online marketing agency, Facebook knew about the misinterpreted figures in early 2015, but disclosed it only in 2016 where it said the average view time was inflated by 60 percent to 80 percent and it impacted unpaid posts, Ad Age reportedw. However, the lawsuit claims that the average view times were inflated up to 900 percent.
The misinterpreted figures did not attract overpaid or incorrect billings from advertisers, but it could well have impacted their spending decisions into Facebook ads. The lawsuit includes fraud claims against Facebook and requests punitive damages.
The Collateral Damage
Amidst all the chaos between advertisers, brands and Facebook, the inflated video-view metrics seemed to have affected media organisations. Due to hyped up demand for videos, media organisations reportedly fired writers and hired expensive video producers in order to get people's attention, some observers noted.
From meddling into the US elections, hackers stealing millions of users data to now being under the scanner for misleading advertisers, tides are not in favour of Facebook.