19:58 GMT26 October 2020
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    Social media giant Facebook has taken legal actions in many “violations” related to deceptive advertising and malware this year, as part of efforts to keep users secure.

    Facebook on Thursday filed a lawsuit in a California federal court against a Hong Kong–based company and two Chinese individuals accused of compromising user accounts to run deceptive ads promoting items such as counterfeit goods and diet pills, in violation of Facebook’s terms of use and advertising policies.

    Facebook alleged that ILikeAd Media International Company, along with two Chinese individuals, Chen Xiao Cong and Huang Tao, have deceived users into installing apps that enable the defendants to compromise Facebook accounts in order to use them in promoting deceptive ads.

    “The defendants sometimes used images of celebrities in their ads to entice people to click on them, a practice known as - celeb bait,” Facebook said in a statement on Thursday. “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 statement noted that cloaking schemes make it difficult to track and identify individuals and organizations behind such ads, and even more difficult to hold them accountable.

    The social platform also said that it has refunded victims whose accounts were used to run deceptive ads and assisted them in protecting their personal accounts.

    “To protect Facebook users and disrupt these types of schemes, we will continue our work to detect malicious behavior directed towards our platform and enforce against violations of our Terms and Policies. Creating real world consequences for those who deceive users and engage in cloaking schemes is important in maintaining the integrity of our platform,” according to the statement.

    In August, Facebook filed suits against two Chinese app makers for committing ad fraud by programming bots to click on Facebook ads. In March the company sued two Ukrainian nationals for the use of malware to steal user data.


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