A firm in Hong Kong allegedly used malware to lure people into clicking on celebrities’ photos and bogus advertising links and this formed the basis of a case that was filed against the company by the US based social media giant Facebook. The company alleged in the filing that the Hong Kong firm has used such a modus operandi to allow it to run ads for counterfeit goods, diet pills and male enhancement supplements.
The Hong Kong firm is named ILikeAd Media International Co and Facebook accused the company’s software developer Chen Xiao Cong and marketer Huang Tao of making use of improper “celeb bait” and “cloaking” practices regularly since at least 2016.
Facebook said that its terms of service and advertising policies had been violated by the actions of the Hong Kong based company as such action enabled the defendants to hijack users’ ad accounts, known as “account take over fraud,” said the largest social media platform of the world.
There were no immediate comments on the issue available from ILikeAd Media International Co. Unspecified damages and a Facebook ban have been sought in the complaint filed in the federal court in San Francisco.
While claiming that notifications had been sent by it to hundreds of thousands of users that their accounts may have been compromised, Facebook also said that this kind of lawsuit is rare. More than $4 million in refunds to customers whose accounts were used by ILikeAd to run unauthorised ads has also been issued by it, said the Menlo Park, California-based company.
The act of “cloaking” entails one version of a particular content to Facebook and another version to users with the aim of disguising that content.
“Creating real world consequences for those who deceive users and engage in cloaking schemes is important in maintaining the integrity,” Jessica Romero, Facebook’s director of platform enforcement and litigation, said in a statement.
ILikeAd promoted itself as a “one-stop comprehensive solution to advertisers” hoping to market their wares on Facebook, said the complaint filed by Facebook in court.
The case is Facebook Inc v ILikeAd International Co et al, US District Court, Northern District of California, No. 19-07971.
(Adapted from NDTV.com)