Facebook Inc sued a Thailand-based Indian man who was running a software company that bypassed its advertising review process and pushed deceptive advertorials and misinformation about coronavirus outbreak on its platforms.
The social media giant accused Basant Gajjar’s company LeadCloak of violating its advertising policies and sneaking fake news and scams related to COVID-19, cryptocurrency, diet pills and more on Instagram and Facebook.
Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation at Facebook said, the company “violated Facebook Terms and Policies by providing cloaking software and services designed to circumvent automated ad review systems, and ultimately run deceptive ads on Facebook and Instagram.”
Apart from Facebook, LeadCloak’s software has also targeted other tech giants like Google, Oath, WordPress, Shopify, and others, Romero added.
The suit, filed in federal court in California.
Cloaking is a malicious technique that impairs ad review systems by concealing the nature of the website linked to an ad. When ads are cloaked, a company’s advertisement review system may see a website showing an innocuous product such as a sweater, but a user will see a different website, promoting deceptive products and services which, in many cases, are not allowed.
In this case, Leadcloak’s software was used to conceal websites featuring scams related to global health crisis COVID-19, cryptocurrency, pharmaceuticals, diet pills, and fake news pages. Some of these cloaked websites also included images of celebrities, the social media giant said in the statement.