Facebook agrees to $40 million settlement in advertiser lawsuit

Facebook agrees to $40 million settlement in advertiser lawsuit
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Facebook has agreed to pay a $40 million dollar settlement over allegations that the social networking site inflated the amount of time that users watched videos.

The agreement said that though Facebook agreed to the settlement, the company “denies any and all claims alleged in the Action and all wrongdoing whatsoever,” according to The San Jose Mercury News.

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“This lawsuit is without merit but we believe resolving this case is in the best interests of the company and advertisers,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.

The group of advertisers sued the company in 2016, claiming that “The average viewership metrics ... were inflated by some 150 to 900 percent.”

The lawsuit also reportedly claimed that Facebook's actions amounted to fraud.

One filing accused Facebook of knowing about glitches in its ad software for more than a year before it disclosed the information to advertisers. 

The alleged metric inflation may have also affected the news industry, with many calling it a factor in the “pivot to video” that resulted in layoffs of nonvideo journalists.

The Atlantic reported in 2018 that the pivot might have been a factor in more than 350 layoffs at national media companies between 2016 and 2018.

Facebook also denied wrongdoing in a court filing. 

“Their allegations are false,” the company said in court, according to the Mercury News. “In fact, Facebook identified the miscalculated metrics through its own efforts, promptly addressed them, and disclosed them to its advertising clients and the public.”

Updated at 12:00 p.m.