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Facebook is one of the first ad networks to sue against click fraud

Facebook is one of the first ad networks to sue against click fraud

Fraudulent advertising is a big issue all around the web. Particularly click injection fraud is on the rise: Malicious developers create apps or programs that automatically click on invisible ads in their own products. Ad providers think users interacted with the provided content, and thus, they pay out money to said developers. While Google has been cracking down on these practices in the Play Store, Facebook is one of the first companies to file a lawsuit against two developers engaging in click injection fraud.

Hong Kong-based LionMobi and Singapore-based JediMobi both published fraudulent apps on the Play Store that engaged in the automated clicking practice. When Facebook detected the misuse of its Audience Network, the company banned the two developers from using its ads before suing them, and reimbursed the damaged parties. LionMobi even promoted its apps on Facebook, violating further policies.

While some of the developers' apps have been removed from the Play Store, others are still downloadable. It remains to be seen whether Google takes actions against them as well, since distributing malicious apps is a violation of Play Store rules, too.

Press Release

August 6, 2019

Enforcing Against Click Injection Fraud

By Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation

Today, Facebook filed suit against two app developers for click injection fraud. The developers made apps available on the Google Play store to infect their users’ phones with malware. 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.

The two developers are LionMobi, based in Hong Kong, and JediMobi, based in Singapore. LionMobi and JediMobi generated unearned payouts from Facebook for misrepresenting that a real person had clicked on the ads. The ads were part of Facebook’s Audience Network. LionMobi also advertised its malicious apps on Facebook, in violation of our Advertising Policies.

Our lawsuit is one of the first of its kind against this practice.

Facebook detected this fraud as part of our continuous efforts to investigate and stop abuse by app developers and any abuse of our advertising products. LionMobi and JediMobi have been banned from Audience Network and their accounts have been disabled. All impacted advertisers were refunded by Facebook in March 2019.

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