malware

Facebook files lawsuit against two app developers for advertising fraud

Facebook has filed a lawsuit against two Asian app developers for advertising fraud, in a move to crack down on abuse of its platform that hurts advertisers.

The company said that it had filed the suit against LionMobi and JediMobi, based in Hong Kong and Singapore respectively, for so-called “click injection” fraud.

Here the developers created apps on Google’s Play store that infected users’ phones with malware that would create fake clicks on mobile ads on Facebook.

“LionMobi and JediMobi generated unearned payouts from Facebook for misrepresenting that a real person had clicked on the ads,” Facebook said.

LionMobi also advertised its apps on Facebook, violating its policies, the group said. Facebook, which says it actively tries to detect invalid click activity on its platform, said the lawsuit was one of the first of its kind against the practice.

In the first half of 2019, advertisers lost more than $2.3bn of ad spend to mobile ad fraud in the first half of the year, according to marketing analytics platform AppsFlyer.

Facebook said that the accounts of both developers had been disabled and that any advertisers who were charged for the false click activity were refunded in March 2019.

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