According to Reuters U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco ruled yesterday that a lawsuit accusing Meta (Facebook’s parent company) of deceiving advertisers about “potential reach” of ads may proceed as a class action. The lawsuit was first filed in 2018. Ad agency DZ Reserve and other advertisers accused Facebook of inflating the number of potential viewers for ad targets by as much as 400%.
According to the owner of a Dallas pay per click management company on Twitter “Facebook absurdly inflated the reach numbers, and surely knew that was what they were doing.” going on to explain in a series of Tweets that “Back in November 2013, Facebook showed 11,400,000 motorcycle owners as female. This was (the best I could establish) not based on the Polk Automotive data Datalogix was providing as a partner category in the Facebooks ads platform at the time.”
Referencing Facebook Partner Categories ad targeting data that the company later removed citing privacy concerns. Pelt said that Facebook’s number “was as best I could tell a 50% exaggeration from Datalogix, the source Facebook stated they used to establish the number.” and “a 58% exaggeration over the number of female riders in the US according to the Motorcycle Industry Council.”
The lawsuit claims senior Facebook executives knew the company’s “potential reach” metric was inflated by duplicate and fake accounts, and took steps to cover it up. Something Pelt seems to agree with.