The legal teams at Microsoft’s LinkedIn division will be celebrating after a US judge dismissed a lawsuit from two advertising firms.

In November 2020, the two firms alleged that LinkedIn had inflated the number of people who watched video ads so it could overcharge hundreds of thousands of advertisers, Reuters reported.

But the proposed class action lawsuit on Monday has been dismissed by US Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen.

Lawsuit dismissed

Judge van Keulen said that while some LinkedIn statements may have been misleading, the plaintiffs failed to show their legal remedies were inadequate before suing under two California laws that offered only equitable relief such as restitution.

Judge van Keulen is based in San Jose, California, and she also ruled that LinkedIn had no implied duty to provide “accurate ad metrics,” citing its disclaimer that it was not responsible for click fraud or illicit third-party activity that could affect ad costs.

Monday’s dismissal was with prejudice, which means the lawsuit led by advertisers TopDevz of Sacramento, California, and Noirefy of Chicago cannot be brought again.

The advertisers had essentially accused LinkedIn of inflating its metrics by counting video ad “views” from users’ LinkedIn apps, even when videos played only off-screen because users had scrolled past them.

The lawsuit began after LinkedIn admitted in November 2020 that its engineers had fixed software bugs that may have led to more than 418,000 overcharges, most under $25.

LinkedIn said it had provided credits to virtually all affected advertisers.

Recent publicity

Microsoft’s enterprise social networking was last in the headlines in October, when Microsoft announced that it was shutting down its local version of LinkedIn in mainland China.

The software giant cited the increased censorship China is practising online, as the principle reason for the closure. It will replace the social network with a job search website.

Earlier in the year, concerns were raised about scraped data of 500 million LinkedIn users being available for sale online on the dark web.

That happened after Cybernews found an archive containing data purportedly scraped from 500 million LinkedIn profiles, had been put for sale on a popular hacker forum, with another 2 million records leaked as a proof-of-concept sample by the post author.

The threat actor also apparently tried to auction the much-larger 500 million user database for at least a 4-digit sum.

The author of the post claimed the data was scraped from LinkedIn, and that was confirmed by an investigation by Cybernews.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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