Facebook sues SG and HK app developers over alleged click injection fraud

Facebook is suing two developers, namely Singapore-based JediMobi and Hong Kong-based LionMobi, over allegations of click injection fraud. The developers made apps available on the Google Play store to infect their users’ phones with malware. According to Facebook, the malware created fake user clicks on Facebook ads that appeared on the users’ phones, giving the impression that the users had clicked on the ads.

Jessica Romero, director of platform enforcement and litigation at Facebook, said in a blog post that JediMobi and LionMobi generated unearned payouts from Facebook for misrepresenting that a real person had clicked on the ads which were part of Facebook’s Audience Network. Romero added that LionMobi violated advertising policies by also advertising its malicious apps on Facebook.

The social media giant detected this fraud as part of its continuous efforts to investigate and stop abuse by app developers and any abuse of its advertising products. Currently, JediMobi and LionMobi have been banned from Audience Network and their accounts have also been disabled. Facebook have also refunded advertisers impacted by these fraudulent acts. Marketing has reached out to JediMobi and LionMobi for comment.

Click injection is a form of click spamming that informs fraudsters when new apps are installed on a specific device, according to AppsFlyer’s definition. This then triggers a click before the installation is complete, taking credit for the install. However, this method causes implications on the advertiser’s future targeting and segmentation of traffic, eventually affecting ad spend planning and distribution and highlighting a fraudulent source ahead of a legitimate one.

Recently, Facebook announced that it will be adding its name to Instagram and WhatsApp to reflect “Instagram from Facebook” and “WhatsApp from Facebook”. Facebook’s spokesperson told Marketing that the company wants to be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook.

(Read also: Could Facebook’s latest renaming effort prove a double-edged sword in the long run?)

(Photo courtesy: 123RF)