Facebook Inc., recently sued the founder of a software company which was running deceptive advertisements on its social media platforms Facebook and Instagram which had links to some bogus information on Coronavirus and investment scams.
Basant Gajjar’s “LeadCloak” software was designed to circumvent the automated review system in both Facebook and Instagram which baits the users into clicking the links which are completely irrelevant to the advertisement said the lawsuit that has been filed in California.
Facebook says that this software was pushing deceptive ads for diet pills and drugs and also cryptocurrency investment scams.
Gajjar who is the defendant in the lawsuit filed by Facebook did not respond to the agencies when he was contacted. He is an Indian citizen who resides in Thailand as per the lawsuit.
LeadCloak also targeted other tech companies including WordPress, Google, Shopify, and Oath according to the lawsuit filed by Facebook.
Facebook has seen a drastic increase in malicious activities where people are trying to take advantage of user’s desperation during the Coronavirus outbreak. Last month the company banned deceptive advertisements touting protective masks and in many cases the masks were faulty, overpriced and even counterfeit versions of what the doctors had recommended.
However, it has been difficult for the tech giant to find and remove all advertisements from its platforms. The company is currently relying on an automated system to solve this issue as many of its employees cannot work on this issue from home due to the legal and privacy reasons.
Gajjar’s website advised the advertisers to block Google and Facebook IP addresses in order to evade the review of non-compliance landing pages of these companies as pointed out by Facebook in its complaint.
LeadCloak’s users could sign up for a “pay-as-you-go” option or subscribe to monthly Cloaking Service by paying between $ 399 and $ 1,999 said the lawsuit.
Facebook claims that over 4,200 users clicked on an ad since late March, showing an “innocuous” landing page which promoted stainless steel spoons. However, it instead took the users to “a fake news article that promoted bitcoin investments to counter the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and used the image of a local celebrity,” said the company.
Facebook, from its lawsuit, is asking the court to permanently block LeadClock services and also seeks damages including compensation for the resources which the company had to spend to identify and put a stop to Gajjar’s “injurious activities”.