Plaintiff eDiscovery Requests Reveal Damaging Email Threads in Facebook Lawsuit

28 Nov 2012

Facebook has been embroiled in litigation for over two years regarding the validity of  some of its users’ “clicks” on its pay-per-click advertising.  Plaintiffs in the suit are Facebook advertisers who pay the company every time an internet user clicks on their ads. The plaintiffs sought class action certification and alleged Facebook knowingly charging them for invalid clicks.

Class certification was denied by the trial court, but the decision is being appealed to the Ninth Circuit. Meanwhile, electronic discovery is ongoing, and the defense production has already produced over 200,000 documents and 16,000 email threads. One email chain appears to be particularly damaging to the company.

In response to a staff email suggesting that the company change its algorithm to fix the invalid click problem, the response was: “I think this is pretty much a no brainer, but it is a fair amount of revenue. So we got to go to the board on this one.” The algorithm change that would cost the company a “fair amount of revenue” was, not surprisingly, never put into action.

The lesson from this is that email threads can often become the “smoking gun” of modern litigation, as they provide direct evidence of conversations between key employees and real-time synopses of what actions were taking place.  As email is often still thought of as a casual medium, parties often let their guards down and speak more candidly than in formal or professional letters.

Our expert computer forensics services can assist with uncovering hidden, deleted or wiped email threads for plaintiff class action lawsuits and multidistrict litigation. Contact us directly at 888-313-4457 for more information.

ILS – Plaintiff Electronic Discovery Firm