The social media giant Facebook is suing Basant Gajjar for running deceptive advertisements on the platform that linked to coronavirus related scams. The Thailand-based Indian citizen is being sued for developing and distributing software that was used to bypass the social network’s advertising review process and run deceptive ads.
Deceptive ads on Facebook linked to cryptocurrency scams.
Advertisements that ran on Facebook linked to cryptocurrency scams, deceptive diet pills, and false information about the coronavirus pandemic. The defendant, in this case, allegedly used “cloaking,” a process that is used to circumvent the review process by hiding the actual ad content on the site. If a user clicked on the ad, the user was taken to an entirely different page. The website also encouraged advertisers to block IP addresses used by Facebook and Google to elude the automated reviews.
Other major tech companies also fell victim to this technique.
The social media giant alleged in its lawsuit that several other tech companies were also targeted through this technique, including Google, WordPress, Oath, and Shopify. Facebook confirmed that over 4,000 users in March clicked an ad with a thumbnail of steel spoons and then were redirected to a fake news article. The article promoted investments in bitcoin to counter the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The article also had an image of a local celebrity to deceive visitors. Basant Gajjar so far did not make any comment on the allegations out on him by the social media giant.
Cybercriminals have been using the coronavirus pandemic to lure victims and scam them off. So far, over 1.5 million people have been diagnosed with COVID 19, and over 95,000 people have lost their lives. The number of new cases around the world is still increasing exponentially as the future seems uncertain for now. Scammers are using this pandemic to fraud people of their money.