Facebook is facing allegations of improperly charging advertisers for invalid clicks in a California federal appeals court. The site has already won a ruling denying class action status at the district level.
“With respect to the lawsuit challenging our click filters, despite more than two years of discovery, the plaintiffs were unable to identify a single click that they believe was invalid,” Facebook told Business Insider. “The allegations in the lawsuit are without merit and we were pleased with the district court’s decision.”
The suit was brought in 2009 by three small advertisers who claimed that Facebook was charging them for more clicks than their own metrics told them they were receiving. At the time, Facebook was experiencing problems with suspicious clicks, but has since corrected the problem. The companies are also challenging Facebook’s lack of responsibility for suspicious or fraudulent clicks.
Facebook’s policy on the matter states: “We cannot control how clicks are generated on your ads. We have systems that attempt to detect and filter certain click activity, but we are not responsible for click fraud, technological issues, or other potentially invalid click activity that may affect the cost of running ads.”
The suit also complains about Facebook’s lack of willingness to expose its clicks to external audits, as well as the site’s alleged lack of adherence to Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) rules and guidelines. The suit also dredges up testimonials from former Facebook employees, engineers and auditors as they are subpoenaed for the case.
Facebook has generally owned up to its issues with click fraud in the past, so it will very interesting to see how they deal with the issue now, in 2012, years after they claim they have moved past the issue.
Have you experienced any discrepancies in Facebook’s click reporting? Do you think the site has done an adequate job of explaining its past mistakes and shortcomings?