Documents announced in court allege that executives in a company Facebook ignored an employee who suggested changing the ad metric to make it more accurate, because they believed the change was affecting revenue.
Docs come as part of A class action lawsuit Ongoing, originally uploaded by a small business owner in 2018, is about Facebook’s Potential Reach Meter, which lets advertisers see an estimated audience of how many people their campaign is likely to reach while setting bids and budgets.
According to the lawsuit, senior Facebook executives had known for years that the potential reach metric was misleading, but they failed to act and actively tried to hide the problems.
The lawsuit said: COO Sheryl Sandberg admitted in an email in fall 2017 that she had been aware of the potential access issues for years.
The lawsuit states that potential reach is misleading because it describes itself as a measure of people, when it is a measure of accounts.
She adds: Facebook has not intentionally removed duplicate or fake accounts from this advertising metric.
The lawsuit also alleges that in early 2018, an analysis via Facebook found that removing duplicate accounts led to a 10 percent drop in numbers.
The product manager working on potential reach allegedly suggested changing the advertising metric so that it would not then include the words people or reach and make it clear that it is based on accounts.
But the lawsuit says that Facebook’s metrics team rejected this because Facebook’s revenue impact would be significant.
The lawsuit states that the product manager at Potential Reach explained that they were profits that we should never have achieved given the fact that they were based on faulty data, while another employee stated that the status quo in estimating ad reach and reporting was wrong.
Facebook generated $ 84.2 billion in advertising revenue in 2020, making it one of the largest digital advertising operators in the United States and globally.
A Facebook spokesperson said in response to the new allegations in the lawsuit: These allegations are baseless and we defend ourselves strongly.
He added: The documents are carefully chosen to fit the plaintiff’s narrative, and the accessibility scale is an estimate, not a guarantee of campaign results, given that company fees depend on the number of people who see or click on an ad, and it was clear how the potential reach was calculated in the ad interface. Own since before 2018.
Facebook said in March 2019, after the original lawsuit was filed, that it is changing the estimated accessibility so that it is based on the number of people who have seen an ad on one of the company’s products in the past 30 days, and who match the advertiser’s desired audience and placement criteria, versus base estimates of the people who They were active users in the last 30 days.
Facebook now describes the advertising metric as an estimate of the number of people that your ad can reach based on the targeting and ad placement options that you select while creating an ad, and it is not an estimate of how many people may see your ad.