Facebook Inflated Video Metrics By Up To 900%, Marketers Claim 10/17/2018

"We told our customers about the error when we discovered it - and updated our help center to explain the issue", a company spokeswoman told the Journal.

Facebook did not wish to draw scrutiny to its viewership figures because it knows that the majority of video ads on its platform are viewed for very short periods of time-users scroll right past.

The legal battle, which dates to 2016, stems from revelations that Facebook misreported two metrics related to its video ads. "They also would have seen that they had spent considerable money on past advertising campaigns that were not enjoying anywhere near the average viewership that Facebook had represented".

The complaint claims Facebook knew its metric for measuring video views was flawed as early as 2015, but didn't alert advertisers about the problem until September 2016.

Facebook knowingly inflated video ad metrics and lied to advertisers about it, according to a group of those advertisers.

Meanwhile, the filing further claims that the problem was more severe than previously reported. The latest filing came shortly after the advertiser's review of 80,000 pages of internal Facebook records.

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The claims that Facebook failed to act when it discovered the video metric error were in an August filing, but were heavily redacted at the time.

Two months ago, the marketers amended their complaint to add allegations of fraud. Others, including trade group the Association of National Advertisers, have called for independent audits of the platforms' ad data and metrics. 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".

But the unsealed version of the amended complaint, which wasn't made publicly available until Tuesday, includes more details about the fraud claims. "Suggestions that we in any way tried to hide this issue from our partners are false", a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

In the filing, brought before the USA district court in Oakland the claimants write: "If Facebook had immediately corrected its miscalculation in a straightforward manner, advertisers would have seen a sudden and precipitous drop in their viewership metrics".

According to the lawsuit, the video metrics were actually inflated by 150% to 900%. Among other sources, the suit drew on a report by industry group Video Advertising Bureau showing that Facebook's audience reach estimates in every U.S. state were higher than the states' actual populations according to the USA census.

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