Meta Opposes Notice Plan in Facebook Advertising Class Action

Last week, Meta Platforms Inc. presented the court with a dispute over the plaintiffs’ proposed notice plan to be presented to potential class members who purchased advertising space on Facebook and Instagram. The opposition argued that the current language is one-sided, does not present class members with neutral information, and must be modified.

The 2018 case concerns allegations that Meta exaggerated the expected impact potential advertisers could achieve by purchasing advertisement space on its Instagram and Facebook platforms. In February 2021, Judge James Donato ruled on Meta’s motion to dismiss, allowing the plaintiffs’ California Unfair Competition Law (UCL), common law fraudulent misrepresentation, and fraudulent concealment claims to proceed. 

The following month, the court certified several classes of ad purchasers. Thereafter, the parties began to work on a notice and distribution plan. 

In last week’s filing, Facebook says that the parties collaborated to submit a mutually agreeable notice plan, but they did not agree on everything. The social media juggernaut explains that they disputed the content of the proposed notifications purportedly because the plaintiffs “refused to include any statement of Meta’s defenses at all, other than a blanket denial of the allegations.” Meta argues this is incorrect because civil procedure rules require courts to convey objective information about the nature of the claims, inclusive of the defendants’ defenses.

The plaintiffs’ proposed notice reduces Meta’s position to “a boilerplate, ‘Meta denies the allegations,’” the opposition contends of the proposed in-app banner and long- and short-form notices. According to Meta, the current language prevents class members from evaluating opposing viewpoints in determining whether to opt out or be bound by the settlement.

In turn, the company requests modified short- and long-form notices as well as an expanded in-app banner that appears when users hover their mouse on the banner that shows Meta’s defenses.

The approval hearing is scheduled for June 9.

Facebook is represented by Latham & Watkins LLP and the plaintiffs by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC and Law Offices of Charles Reichmann.