Facebook has recently filed a lawsuit against Indian-American software engineer Basant Gajjar for running a software company that provided cloaking software and services to help advertisers circumvent Facebook’s automated ad review systems and ultimately run the deceptive ads and misleading information about the coronavirus outbreak on social media platforms.
Some of the cloaked websites also included images of famous celebrities, to provoke the users click on those tempting advertisements.
Gajjar software firm operated under the name ‘LeadCloak’ and provided ad-cloaking software designed to redirect users to fake news and scams related to COVID-19, pharmaceuticals, diet pills, cryptocurrency, and other misleading content.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, alleges that LeadCloak’s software has violated Facebook’s Terms and Policies by bypassing the Facebook and Instagram advertising review process and pushed deceptive advertisements on its social media platforms.
Apart from Facebook and Instagram, Basant Gajjar’s firm LeadCloak also targeted a number of other global technology companies including Google, WordPress, Shopify, Oath, and many others, Facebook claimed in its filed lawsuit.
“Cloaking is a malicious technique that impairs ad review systems by concealing the nature of the website linked to an ad,” Facebook said in a statement late Thursday. “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,” explained Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation at Facebook.
According to Basant Gajjar’s profile available on the Internet, he is the founder and system architect of a little-known company named LeadCloak, SaaS expert and a digital marketer and also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in both Computer Science and Management Information Systems from the California State University-Sacramento.
In addition to the filed lawsuit, Facebook stated that it has taken technical enforcement measures against the Gajjar’s company LeadCloak and accounts that they have “determined have used their software, including disabling personal and ad accounts on Facebook and Instagram.”
“This suit will also further our efforts to identify Leadcloak’s customers and take additional enforcement actions against them,” said Facebook in an official statement.