On the other hand, the court dismissed the fraud and unfair competition claims, stating that the advertisers failed to show that LinkedIn made specific misrepresentations or that its actions harmed the general public.
A US judge ruled that Microsoft Corp.'s LinkedIn must face a lawsuit alleging that the networking platform inflated the number of people who watched video ads, allowing it to overcharge hundreds of thousands of advertisers.
However, on Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen dismissed the fraud and unfair competition claims, stating that the plaintiff advertisers failed to show that LinkedIn made specific misrepresentations or that its actions harmed the general public.
However, the judge in San Jose, California, allowed the advertisers to pursue claims based on the theory that bot traffic, errant clicks, and fraudulent clicks inflated the metrics used to buy LinkedIn ads.
The advertisers, led by TopDevz Inc and Noirefy Inc, claimed that LinkedIn had been counting video ad "views" from users' LinkedIn apps, even when the videos were only playing off-screen due to users scrolling past them.
LinkedIn said in an email on Wednesday that it was "committed to the transparency and integrity of our ads products" and that it looked forward to proving the claims were false.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Warren Postman, said in an email that he was pleased with the decision and that he was looking forward to proving that LinkedIn had broken the law.
The plaintiffs could try to resurrect their dismissed claims, according to Van Keulen.
The advertisers sued after LinkedIn announced on November 12 that its engineers had discovered and fixed software bugs that may have resulted in over 418,000 overcharges three months prior.
According to LinkedIn, over 90% of the overcharges were less than $25, and nearly all affected advertisers received credits.
Advertisers claimed in their lawsuit that the overcharges left them with less money to spend elsewhere, including on advertisements. They want unspecified monetary damages and restitution.
The case is In re LinkedIn Advertising Metrics Litigation, No. 20-08324, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.