Facebook filed suit in California today against one entity and two individuals for violating the company's Terms and Advertising Policies.
Facebook claims that the defendants deceived people into installing malware available on the internet. This malware then enabled the defendants to compromise people’s Facebook accounts and run deceptive ads promoting items such as counterfeit goods and diet pills.
The suit seeks to hold accountable ILikeAd Media International Company Ltd. and Chen Xiao Cong and Huang Tao "for creating the malware, tricking people into installing it, compromising people’s Facebook accounts and then using people’s accounts to run deceptive ads," said Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation, Facebook.
Facebook said that the defendants sometimes used images of celebrities in their ads to entice people to click on them, a practice known as “celeb bait.” In some instances, the defendants also engaged in a practice known as cloaking. Through cloaking, the defendants deliberately disguised the true destination of the link in the ad by displaying one version of an ad’s landing page to Facebook’s systems and a different version to Facebook users.
The Menlo Park, California-based company said it has also issued more than $4 million in refunds to customers whose accounts were used by ILikeAd to run unauthorized ads.