Advertisers allege Facebook hid the fact that no one watches video ads

Mark Zuckerberg

The social network revealed in September 2016 that it artificially inflated the metric for two years because it only counted videos as viewed if they had been watched for three or more seconds - failing to taking shorter views into account - and possibly misleading advertisers. In the latest version of the complaint filed Tuesday, those claims were unredacted.

Facebook claims that it informed the customers just after the errors were discovered and updated their help center to explain the issue.

Facebook didn't tell advertisers and publishers about known problems with its video viewing data, effectively duping them into investing in video ads and products, a new lawsuit filed in California alleges. This set off several other miscalculations handed by the company leading to a lawsuit. On top of this accusation, the suit also claims that the social media platform knew as early as 2015 that it was over-reporting the figures. However, the company never bothered to make corrections in order to retain their goodwill. The tech giant has since released a statement saying, "suggestions that we in any way tried to hide this issue from our partners are false". That "unethical, unscrupulous" behavior by Facebook constituted fraud because it was "likely to deceive" advertisers, the filing alleged.

The case has been brought as an extension of an ongoing 2016 lawsuit after fresh internal documents were obtained as part of that court process, bolstering the case of those behind the legal bid. Many industry experts believe that Facebook's continued growth is closely correlated with its ability to convince advertisers that users are really watching a growing amount of video content.

Facebook denies all these claims and has moved to dismiss the recently added fraud claims. However, the lawsuit claims that the average view times were inflated up to 900 percent.


Facebook failed to factor in video views lasting under three seconds when calculating its "average duration of video viewed" metric for two years, significantly inflating watch times since most users tune out during the first few seconds of an ad.

"The metric should have reflected the total time spent watching a video divided by the total number of people who played the video".

You've probably noticed a lot more videos popping up in your Facebook feed this past year or so.

The skewed metrics didn't cause Facebook to overcharge any marketers for ads.

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