Facebook sues engineer behind LeadCloak for helping COVID-19 fraudsters

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  • Facebook said it had filed a lawsuit against the founder of a company called LeadCloak on Thursday, alleging that it was helping coronavirus scammers post deceptive ads on Facebook and Instagram by selling them “cover-up” software.
  • Cloaking fools ad review systems by showing a website displaying a product that wouldn’t raise a flag, while users would see an entirely different website that could violate Facebook guidelines, the company said.
  • Facebook alleges that LeadCloak software was used by scammers linked to coronavirus, cryptocurrency, pharmaceuticals, diet pills and fake news pages. It did not provide a dollar amount related to the number of ads shown on the platform.
  • This is the latest example of Facebook’s crackdown on ad spoofers. In December, he sued the Hong Kong-based company ILikeAd for hijacking user accounts to serve misleading ads.
  • Visit the Business Insider home page for more stories.

Facebook has announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Basant Gajjar, the founder of a little-known company called LeadCloak, alleging that the small business was helping scam artists to post deceptive ads on Facebook and Instagram by selling camouflage software to trick its customers. advertising review systems.

“By using the name” LeadCloak “, Gajjar violated Facebook’s terms and policies by providing camouflage software and services designed to bypass automated ad review systems,” the Facebook statement said. “LeadCloak’s software has also targeted a number of other tech companies, including Google, Oath, WordPress, Shopify and others. “

Camouflage software deceives ad review systems by showing them completely innocent websites linked to each ad, so no red flags are raised.

But users see an entirely different website that can promote scams or violate the terms of use of the business.

In this case, Facebook says that LeadCloak software was used to authorize scams related to COVID-19, cryptocurrency, pharmaceuticals, diet pills and even fake news pages to flood the news feeds. user news. Facebook did not provide a dollar amount related to the number of ads served using LeadCloak software.

The company has stepped up its efforts to fight coronavirus scams and misinformation on its platform. Facebook and a coalition of other tech companies said last month that they would work with government health agencies to fight coronavirus misinformation.

Fighting disinformation

Even before the COVID-19 epidemic, Facebook and its social media counterparts were under fire from lawmakers and other critics who claimed that companies were not doing enough to remove harmful and deceptive content from their platforms. The disagreement was fiercer over Facebook’s policies regarding political ads.

But the company cracked down on companies that sought to promote ads with malware on its platform. Facebook sued the Hong Kong-based company ILikeAd in December, alleging that it incited users to download compromising malware, letting it hijack user accounts to run and pay for fake diet pills and supplements men.

In the case of LeadCloak, the company said it would not only prosecute Gajjar, but would ensure that it took action against LeadCloak, such as deactivating accounts using its software.

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