Facebook launches 'first of its kind' lawsuit over ad fraud

Facebook claims the two developers installed malware on a user's phone in order to generate fake clicks on ads.

Facebook: 'defrauded' advertisers were refunded
Facebook: 'defrauded' advertisers were refunded

Facebook has filed a "first of its kind" lawsuit against two app developers for "click injection fraud", a form of faking the number of clicks on Facebook ads. 

The social media giant claims the two developers installed malware on a user’s phone in order to generate fake clicks on Facebook ads.

The ad revenue then went to the ad developers, Hong-based LionMobi and Singapore-based JediMobi. 

Jessica Romero, director of platform enforcement and litigation, said: "LionMobi and JediMobi generated unearned payouts from Facebook for misrepresenting that a real person had clicked on the ads. The ads were part of Facebook’s Audience Network. LionMobi also advertised its malicious apps on Facebook, in violation of our advertising policies."

The developers have also been banned from Audience Network, Facebook’s platform that allows brands to extend Facebook and Instagram campaigns across the internet on other mobile websites and apps.

All impacted advertisers were refunded by Facebook in March, Romero added. 

Last year a similar click injection fraud scheme was uncovered on Android, Google’s mobile operation system. A BuzzFeed News investigation found more than 125 apps and websites were involved in a multimillion-dollar ad fraud scheme. Google removed more than 30 apps that were reported as part of the investigation.

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