HK app developer LionMobi refutes Facebook's ad fraud allegations

Hong Kong-based app developer LionMobi has responded to the recent news about Facebook suing it and Singapore-based JediMobi over allegations of click injection fraud. A LionMobi spokesperson told Marketing that the company has adhered to the Facebook advertising policy and has "never" obtained any illegal income through click injection fraud on the social platform.

This comes after Facebook's director of platform enforcement and litigation, Jessica Romero, said that LionMobi and JediMobi 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.

However, according to LionMobi, its monetising income of mobile apps come from third-party software development kits (SDK) and for better product experience, some apps may have been integrated SDKs from other third parties, including data analytics and games. In December 2018, the company discovered that some of the integrated third-party SDK may lead violations of policy. The spokesperson clarified to Marketing that LionMobi investigated the third-party SDK and removed those that caused policy violation.

LionMobi's spokesperson also added that after the multiple adjustments of Facebook's advertising policy, its monetising income on Facebook has been decreasing month by month since the end of 2017. According to the spokesperson, Facebook "unconditionally terminated" the cooperation with LionMobi on 24 December 2018, and has been on hold since then.

"LionMobi respects and abides by Facebook's strategies and policies over app monetisation. Since 2015, we have been actively cooperating with many different business departments of Facebook and has been praised by different departments for years. On a number of new attempts and experiment over monetising as well as the testing of the latest Facebook SDKs, LionMobi has worked together with Facebook which makes us widely recognised within Facebook," the spokesperson said.

Currently, the company aims to review and supervise the SDK of the three-party software to prevent similar incidents from happening again. JediMobi has yet to respond to Marketing's queries.

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.

(Photo courtesy: 123RF)