Facebook knew it was misleading advertisers about the average time users spent watching videos long before admitting it. And it tried to shift attention from the error, a lawsuit says.
The social network revealed in September 2016 that it artificially inflated a key metric, total time watched divided by views, for two years because it only counted videos as viewed if they had been watched for 3 or more seconds. By failing to take shorter views into account but still counting them towards total time watched, it possibly misled advertisers.
"This lawsuit is without merit and we've filed a motion to dismiss these claims of fraud. Suggestions that we in any way tried to hide this issue from our partners are false," a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "We told our customers about the error when we discovered it -- and updated our help center to explain the issue."