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9th Circ. Partially Backs Meta Class Cert. In Ad Reach Row


March 22, 2024

A split Ninth Circuit panel on Thursday affirmed certification of a damages class of Meta Platforms advertisers who were allegedly deceived about Facebook’s “potential reach” tool, but upended certification of an injunction class, telling the district court to take a fresh look at whether the lead plaintiff actually has standing.

The panel majority, in a published opinion, affirmed a California federal judge’s order certifying a class of advertisers who claim Meta raked in money by misrepresenting the potential reach of advertisements to Facebook users by allegedly including fake and duplicate accounts, rejecting Meta’s argument that this misrepresentation does not present a common question across the class.

The advertisers allege that Meta inflated the potential reach of ads on its platforms by stating that “potential reach” was an estimate of people, when it’s actually an estimate of accounts, according to the opinion. Meta argues that this alleged misrepresentation is a numerical discrepancy between people and accounts, rather than people being substituted for accounts, the opinion states.

“Under its theory, Meta contends the misrepresentations materially varied because the numerical value of the discrepancy differed for each individual advertiser based on its advertising budget and targeting, and thus there was no common misrepresentation among the class,” the majority said. “We disagree.”

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Geoffrey Graber of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, lead counsel for the advertisers, told Law360 on Thursday, “We are very happy with today’s Ninth Circuit ruling. We now look forward to showing the evidence at trial that Meta knew about this inflated reach issue for years and yet continued to take advantage of advertising customers.”

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The advertisers are represented by Geoffrey Graber, Andrew N. Friedman, Karina G. Puttieva, Madelyn Petersen and Eric A. Kafka of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and Charles Reichmann.

Read 9th Circ. Partially Backs Meta Class Cert. In Ad Reach Row.