A US judge decided on Tuesday that a class action lawsuit accusing Meta Platforms Inc’s (FB.O) Facebook of misleading advertisers about its “possible reach” tool may proceed.
The judgement by U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco authorises possibly millions of individuals and organisations that paid for advertisements on Facebook and its photo-sharing app Instagram since August 15, 2014, to sue collectively.
Meta did not immediately react to a comment request.
The action began in 2018, when DZ Reserve and other advertisers accused Facebook of misrepresenting its advertising reach by boosting the number of prospective viewers by up to 400% and demanding exorbitant prices for ad spots.
They also claimed that for years, senior Facebook officials were aware that the company’s “potential reach” measure was inflated by duplicate and phoney accounts, but did nothing about it and took efforts to conceal it.
Donato dismissed Meta’s “blunderbuss” arguments to class certification, claiming that the class was too varied, encompassing “big sophisticated organisations” as well as people and small enterprises, and that calculating damages would be too difficult.
Donato also stated that allowing individual plaintiffs to suit as a group made sense, considering that “no rational person” would sue Meta individually in order to recoup just a $32 price increase.