Facebook Sues Indian-American Techie Over Deceptive Ads That Link To Coronavirus Scams

It is guaranteed that more than once in your life you have come across fake ads and scams while scrolling through social media. While some are smart enough to look past such scams, unfortunately, many are duped by such ads for a good amount of money.

In its battle against such malicious ads, Facebook recently filed a complaint against an Indian-American techie based in Thailand for running an ad cloaking service that enabled fake news and scams related to the coronavirus, cryptocurrency, pharmaceuticals, and diet pills to pass through Facebook’s ad review system, reports Business Insider.

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The accused, Basant Gajjar, is the founder of a software company that makes a cloaking product designed to deceive automated ad review systems to run fake ads on Facebook and Instagram, thus violating Facebook’s policies.

Basant Gajjar’s company name is ‘LeadCloak’. Not just Facebook, but Gajjar targetted other companies as well including Google, WordPress, Shopify, Oath, etc.

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According to a report by Telangana Today, Facebook explained how cloaking works in its official statement:

“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 ad 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.”

Facebook also claimed that more than 4,000 people clicked on an ad promoting stainless steel spoons. However, they landed on a fake news article that promoted bitcoin investment to counter the economic consequences of the pandemic.

Facebook added that they have taken “technical enforcement measures” against LeadCloak and other companies who have used their cloaking services. Facebook has also decided to disable their personal and ad accounts on Facebook and Instagram.

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In late February, Facebook banned ads that made false claims about COVID-19 related products. It continues its fight against social media scams even now.

It is not just unethical, but extremely dangerous to spread fake news, especially related to the coronavirus pandemic. We hope tech giants like Google and Facebook take necessary steps against such practices and people involved in them.