LinkedIn may face US lawsuit on ad overcharging allegation

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Microsoft-owned professional networking platform LinkedIn will have to face a lawsuit as it is accused of inflating the number of people who watched video ads on the networking platform, allowing it to overcharge hundreds of thousands of advertisers, a US judge said.

However, US Magistrate Judge Ms. Susan van Keulen dismissed fraud-based claims and an unfair competition allegation against Linkedin pointing out that the plaintiff advertisers did not show that made specific misrepresentations or that its conduct hurt the public at large.

The advertisers can pursue claims based on the theory that bot traffic, errant and fraudulent clicks inflated the metrics they relied on when buying LinkedIn ads, the California-based judge said.

LinkedIn had been counting video ad “views” from users’ LinkedIn apps, even when the videos were playing only off-screen because users had scrolled past them, the advertisers led by TopDevz and Noirefy, said. 

Last day, LinkedIn stated that it looked forward to showing the claims lacked merit and further added that the platform was committed to the transparency and integrity of its ad products.

Mr. Warren Postman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, responded to the decision by stating that he looked forward to proving that LinkedIn broke the law. Ms. Van Keulen said the plaintiffs could try to pursue their dismissed claims again.

The advertisers sued LinkedIn last year after the company said that its engineers had three months earlier found and then fixed software bugs that may have led to more than 418,000 overcharges. The Microsoft-owned platform stated that over 90 percent of the overcharges were less than $25 and that it provided credits to virtually all affected advertisers.

In the lawsuit, the advertisers said the overcharges left them with less money to spend elsewhere, including on ads. 

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