This is the first time someone has ever been sued under these charges as Facebook accuses two app developers of click injection fraud. The company claims that the devs created Android Apps for the Google Play Store that installed malware on users’ phones.
What is click injection?
Click injection is a form of spamming fake clicks by using an Android app that detects install broadcasts. Developers are able to pick up when other apps are downloaded and fake clicks are triggered before the installation is complete.
Ad based click injection follows the same process but substitutes aps for ads on Facebook in this instance. Fake ad clicks consume advertiser budgets that would have otherwise been useful by attracting natural clicks from consumers.
If left unchecked, this type of fraud can not only siphon advertisement budgets but can bankrupt businesses by offering false marketing data.
Tricking Facebook ads
The purpose of the malware was to generate fake clicks on Facebook ads. The fake clicks, in turn, generated profits for the app developer that are based in Hong Kong and Singapore. These are called LionMobi and JediMobi.
The app developer LionMobi also advertised its fraudulent apps on Facebook, another violation of the company’s terms of service. Facebook is saying that this kind of lawsuit is the first one of its kind.
Big companies cracking down on fraud
Google is also dealing with such practices, regarding app developers that are using their Google Play platform to commit fraud. The company has removed more than 30 app developers that were using various ad based fraud schemes on their platform.
Facebook has banned the two devs from using their ad network and has provided refunds for all parties that were affected. Google has not been as quick to act in the case of these particular devs as their apps are still active on the Play Store with millions of installs.