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Tech & Science Facebook is suing a Hong Kong ad firm, claiming it hijacked people's accounts to run millions of dollars of deceptive ads

16:26  06 december  2019
16:26  06 december  2019 Source:   businessinsider.com.au

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Facebook is suing a Hong Kong company that it claims tricked people into downloading malware using baited celebrity photos. The social giant claims ILikeAd Media International developer Chen Xiao Cong and marketer, Huang Tao, used improper 'celeb bait' and 'cloaking' practices since at least 2016

The end goal of compromising Facebook accounts was distribution of deceptive ads for counterfeit goods and diet pills. When clicked, the ad would take users to the real landing page while Facebook would be served a version that abides by the platforms Terms and Advertising Policies.

Mark Zuckerberg wearing a suit and tie: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Facebook is suing a Hong Kong ad firm over a complex ad fraud scheme that allegedly compromising users' accounts to bombard them with deceptive Facebook ads featuring celebrities.
  • In a legal complaint filed on Thursday, Facebook said ILikeAd Media International Company - along with two Chinese citizens - deceived internet users into clicking ads and installing malware.
  • Facebook says this malware enabled the Chinese firm to access their victims' Facebook accounts and hijack their ad accounts, without their knowledge or consent.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Facebook is suing a Chinese firm its says hijacked users' accounts to run and pay for fake ads for diet pills and male enhancement supplements, often featuring celebrities.

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Facebook is suing a Hong Kong –based company and two Chinese citizens it says used malware to compromise user accounts in order to run millions of dollars of deceptive Facebook ads that often featured celebrities. The company filed the federal lawsuit Thursday in California against ILikeAd

Facebook said this enabled the defendants to hijack users' ad accounts , known. The Menlo Park, California-based company said it has also issued more than million in refunds to customers whose accounts were used by ILikeAd to run unauthorized ads .

In a legal complaint filed Thursday, Facebook claims Hong Kong-based ILikeAd Media International Company - along with two Chinese citizens, Chen Xiao Cong and Huang Tao - initially tricked users into downloading compromising malware.

Allegedly, the company then used this malware to access people's Facebook accounts and takeover their ad accounts, which were then used to run millions of dollars of adverts for "deceptive diet pills, cryptocurrency investments and images of sexual content." The cost of running those ads was charged to the victims' ad accounts.

a screen shot of a computer: Facebook has filed multiple lawsuits in 2019 related to malware. Facebook has filed multiple lawsuits in 2019 related to malware.

This is not the first time Facebook has taken legal action in 2019 over incidents relating to malware. It sued two Ukrainian app developers in March for stealing its users' data through malware, and filed a lawsuit against two Singapore and Hong Kong-based app developers in August for so-called "click injection fraud."

Click injection fraud is the practice of creating fake user clicks on ads, typically by infecting users' devices with malware. This creates the impression that more people have clicked on these ads than is really the case.

In a press release regarding Thursday's legal complaint, Facebook's director of platform engagement Jessica Romero said Facebook has "refunded victims whose accounts were used to run unauthorised ads and helped them to secure their accounts."

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