Facebook files court case against Indian techie for spreading fake news about coronavirus

Highlights
  • The accused is said to be running a company, named LeadCloak, out of Thailand 
  • LeadCloak provided a concealing mechanism against ad review software tools
  • Some of the ads run by LeadCloak promoted fake news about coronavirus, cryptocurrency, etc

While most of the world is coming together to fight against coronavirus, it seems that there are some opportunist companies that are still trying to use the situation to scam vulnerable people on the internet. As per a report by news wire PTI, Facebook has filed a lawsuit in federal court in California against Indian techie Basant Gajjar-led company LeadCloak for designing and providing an ad-cloaking software that was used to “sneak fake news and scams related to COVID-19, cryptocurrency, diet pills, and more past Facebook and Instagram’s automated advertising review process.”

LeadCloak is said to be based in Thailand and has been accused by Facebook of violating the site’s terms and policies by offering a cloaking mechanism to circumvent the ad review systems in place for Facebook and Instagram, as per a quoted statement from Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation at Facebook. For those of you who are unaware, cloaking is a technique where the website linked to a particular ad is concealed from the ad review system so that it flies under the radar and the users are directed to the website that the software wants them to see.

In most cases, as well in this, the software led the users to websites that were spreading scams and fake news. Some of the ads by LeadCloak were for innocuous products but when a user clicked on them, they were taken to a page about Bitcoin or ads about coronavirus, both of which are not allowed on Facebook and Instagram.

Apart from the lawsuit, Facebook has also disabled the personal and the ad accounts related to the company on Instagram and Facebook. The ads by LeadCloak were also run on Google, Oath, WordPress, and other networks. Needless to say, be very careful of the information that you see online and stick to the trusted sources for reliable information.