Facebook filed a lawsuit in federal court in California against Basant Gajjar for violating the company's Terms and Policies.
According to Facebook, Gajjar (“LeadCloak”) designed to circumvent automated ad review systems, and ultimately run deceptive ads on Facebook and Instagram. LeadCloak’s software also targeted a number of other technology companies including Google, Oath, WordPress, Shopify, and others.
Cloaking is a malicious technique that impairs ad review systems by concealing the nature of the website linked to an ad. When ads are cloaked, a company’s ad review system may see a website showing an innocuous product such as a sweater, but a user will see a different website, promoting deceptive products and services which, in many cases, are not allowed. In this case, Leadcloak’s software was used to conceal websites featuring scams related to COVID-19, cryptocurrency, pharmaceuticals, diet pills, and fake news pages. Some of these cloaked websites also included images of celebrities.
In addition to today’s filing, Facebook says it has taken technical enforcement measures against Leadcloak and accounts that the company has determined have used their software, including disabling personal and ad accounts on Facebook and Instagram.