App Developers Used Facebook to Commit Click Injection Fraud

App Developers Used Facebook to Commit Click Injection Fraud

Facebook has come under intense scrutiny over the use of private data and the impact of harmful content on its more than 2 billion users, with governments around the world challenging its policies.

The Power Clean app has more than 100 million downloads and the Calculator Plus app has been downloaded more than 5 million times, according to the Google Play Store.

The case against JediMobi is Facebook, Inc. v. JediMobi Tech Pte.

The social media company filed a lawsuit against two app developers it says used malware-ridden Android apps to engage in "click injection fraud". However, Facebook has found that these apps were collecting fake clicks of the users. The lawsuit doesn't say how much money these developers made from their alleged scheme.

Facebook is seeking unspecified damages and restitution. Once a user had installed one of the apps on their phone, the malware would generate fake user clicks on Facebook ads, giving the impression that "real" people had clicked on the ads and tricking Facebook's advertising network to pay out for those clicks.

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The social network is now suing the two app makers as a result in what Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation, called "the first of its kind against this practice". Facebook said the two companies created apps with malware-like features and made them available via the official Google Play Store [LionMobi profile; JediMobi profile]. The companies also violated a federal and state law against fraud, according to the lawsuit.

Ad frauds like these are nothing new but it is heartening to see Facebook take serious actions against both developers, even booting them off their social media platform. Facebook said it didn't have anything else to add beyond what's in the lawsuit and its blog post.

Facebook has found that numerous clicks generated on their hosted apps were not from real humans.

The developers named in Tuesday's suit are JediMobi Tech Ltd. of Singapore and LionMobi Holding Ltd. of Hong Kong.

As well as, Facebook mentioned one of the app makers - LionMobi - additionally marketed its malicious applications on the Facebook platform, in violation of the corporate's promoting policies.