A lawsuit accusing Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook of overstating its advertising audience got a lot bigger Tuesday when a court expanded the pool of plaintiffs to include more than 2 million small ad buyers.
Dismissing what he called a “blunderbuss of objections” by the company, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that the case can proceed as a class action on behalf of small business owners and individuals who bought ads on Facebook or Instagram since Aug. 15, 2014.
The decision is another setback for the social networking giant after court filings in 2021 revealed that its audience-measuring tool was known by high-ranking Facebook executives to be unreliable because it was skewed by fake and duplicate accounts.
Facebook’s lawyers argued in filings that the social media company has made “updates” to improve its user estimates. They also pushed back against the request for class-action status, saying the ad buyers didn’t show that all class members uniformly relied on the metrics to increase their spending and had ad budgets of various sizes.
“It may be that class members differ in advertising budgets and scope of purchases, as Meta suggests, but Meta has not shown that these differences” make the case unsuited to be a class action, U.S. District Judge James Donato said.