Facebook has filed a lawsuit against a Hong Kong-based advertising company and two individuals for violating the Terms and Advertising Policies.
Filed in the Northern District of California, the lawsuit against ILikeAd Media International Company Ltd., Chinese software developer, Chen Xiao Cong and marketing director Huang Tao, alleges that the defendants deceived people into installing malware available on the internet.
In a blog post, Facebook said: “The suit seeks to hold accountable ILikeAd Media International Company Ltd. and Chen Xiao Cong and Huang Tao for creating the malware, tricking people into installing it, compromising people’s Facebook accounts and then using people’s accounts to run deceptive ads.”
The social media giant stated that the defendants used improper practices such as “celeb bait” and “cloaking” to bait Facebook users into downloading and installing malware. Subsequently, the malware compromised their Facebook accounts.
The practice of “celeb bait” involves utilising celebrities photos in ads to tempt users to click on them, whilst “cloaking” is when the true destination of the link in the ad is deliberately disguised.
“Cloaking schemes are often sophisticated and well organized, making the individuals and organizations behind them difficult to identify and hold accountable. As a result, there have not been many legal actions of this kind. In this case, we have refunded victims whose accounts were used to run unauthorized ads and helped them to secure their accounts.”
According to Facebook, more than $4 million has been refunded to victims whose accounts were utilized to run unauthorised ads.
Since April, the social media giant has notified hundreds of thousands of users that their accounts may have been compromised, and have instructed them to change their passwords.
“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.
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