NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Labaton Sucharow LLP (“Labaton Sucharow”) announces that on March 8, 2022, it filed a securities class action lawsuit, captioned Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 60 Pension Trust v. Meta Platforms, Inc., No. 3:22-cv-01470 (N.D. Cal.) (the “Action”), on behalf of its client Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 60 Pension Trust (“Plumbers and Steamfitters”) against Meta Platforms, Inc. (“Meta” or the “Company”) and certain Meta officers and directors (collectively, “Defendants”). The Action asserts claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), and SEC Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, on behalf of all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired Meta securities between March 2, 2021 and February 2, 2022, both dates inclusive (the “Class Period”), who were damaged thereby (the “Class”).
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has successfully made a tremendous amount of money in recent years by using a wealth of data obtained about its users by tracking their activities. Without the ability to track users’ activity, however, Meta cannot really sell ads, and as a result would suddenly see a material step down in its revenues.
In June 2020, Apple announced that it would roll out a host of changes to the iOS operating software that would essentially cut off Facebook and its sister services from almost all the tracking abilities and information that they need to sell targeted ads as they had been for many years. It was such a drastic change that it would derail Meta’s extraordinary price-to-earnings ratio and high revenue growth trajectory into something more in line with a classic slow-growth media company. However, beginning in March 2021 (shortly before Apple’s changes went into effect), and until February 2022, Meta and its upper management misled investors about its mitigation efforts to counteract the impact that Apple’s changes would have on its ad business.
Despite acknowledging that Apple’s changes would create “headwinds” to its ad business, Meta painted a false and misleading picture about the effectiveness of mitigation efforts it put in place to counteract the changes. The efforts that were touted included, among other things, requiring less data in targeted ad campaigns; claims that Meta was building other data sources that advertisers could make use of; having more onsite conversion opportunities for advertisers; closing a supposed “underreporting gap” to identify a supposedly more robust and more accurate return on investment for advertisers; and automation to allow advertisers to leverage machine learning to find audiences for targeted ad campaigns. As later revealed, these mitigation efforts were ineffective.
The Action alleges that Meta and its senior executives knowingly or recklessly failed to tell investors that (1) Apple’s iOS privacy changes were having a material impact on Meta’s ability to provide the kind of targeted advertising that its customers wanted and, as a result, customer ad spending was dropping precipitously; (2) Meta’s mitigation efforts were either not properly implemented or ineffective; (3) measurement of ads was not accurate as mitigation efforts were failing; and (4) Meta did not have a plan in place to properly address the impact of the iOS privacy changes.
The Action also alleges that Meta and its senior executives failed to disclose known trends related to an exodus of Facebook and Instagram users to rival social media platform TikTok; and that in an effort to counter this undisclosed material trend, Meta was cannibalizing itself by pushing revenue-generating business away from Facebook’s “Stories” and elsewhere to its lower-margin “Reels” video function.
The true impact that Apple’s privacy changes and TikTok had on Meta’s ad business was revealed on February 2, 2022 during Meta’s earnings call for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021. During that call, Meta disclosed that the mitigation efforts in fact had not rendered the effects of the iOS changes “manageable.” Instead, Meta’s advertising business would suffer a shattering $10 billion revenue hit from the iOS privacy changes. These admissions, as well as Meta’s acknowledgment of the negative impacts from TikTok, caused over 26% of Meta’s market capitalization to be wiped out in one day, as the value of Meta’s stock sank over $85 a share.
If you purchased Meta securities during the Class Period and were damaged thereby, you are a member of the “Class” and may be able to seek appointment as Lead Plaintiff. Lead Plaintiff motion papers must be filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California no later than May 9, 2022. The Lead Plaintiff is a court-appointed representative for absent members of the Class. You do not need to seek appointment as Lead Plaintiff to share in any Class recovery in the Action. If you are a Class member and there is a recovery for the Class, you can share in that recovery as an absent Class member. You may retain counsel of your choice to represent you in the Action.
If you would like to consider serving as Lead Plaintiff or have any questions about this lawsuit, you may contact Francis P. McConville, Esq. of Labaton Sucharow, at (212) 907-0650, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plumbers and Steamfitters is represented by Labaton Sucharow, which represents many of the largest pension funds in the United States and internationally with combined assets under management of more than $2 trillion. Labaton Sucharow has been recognized for its excellence by the courts and peers, and it is consistently ranked in leading industry publications. Offices are located in New York, NY, Wilmington, DE, and Washington, D.C. More information about Labaton Sucharow is available at www.labaton.com.
You can view a copy of the complaint here.
Francis P. McConville, Esq.