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Monday, January 17, 2022

US judge dismisses claims that LinkedIn overcharged advertisers

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A US judge dismissed a lawsuit accusing Microsoft Corp‘s LinkedIn of inflating the number of people who watched video ads so the networking platform could overcharge hundreds of thousands of advertisers.

In a decision on Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen said that while some LinkedIn statements may have been misleading, the plaintiffs failed to show their legal remedies were inadequate before suing under two California laws that offered only equitable relief such as restitution.

The San Jose, California-based judge also said LinkedIn had no implied duty to provide “accurate ad metrics,” citing its disclaimer that it was not responsible for click fraud or illicit third-party activity that could affect ad costs.

Advertisers in the proposed class action accused LinkedIn of inflating its metrics by counting video ad “views” from users’ LinkedIn apps, even when videos played only off-screen because users scrolled past them.

The lawsuit began after LinkedIn said in November 2020 that its engineers had fixed software bugs that may have led to more than 418,000 overcharges, most under $25. LinkedIn said it provided credits to virtually all affected advertisers.

Judge van Keulen had in August dismissed some of the advertisers’ claims while letting others proceed.

Monday’s dismissal was with prejudice, meaning the lawsuit led by advertisers TopDevz Inc of Sacramento, California, and Noirefy Inc of Chicago cannot be brought again. LinkedIn is based in Sunnyvale, California.

Lawyers for the advertisers did not immediately respond on Tuesday to requests for comment. LinkedIn and its lawyers did not immediately respond to similar requests.

The case is In re LinkedIn Advertising Metrics Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-08324.

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