Facebook has filed a lawsuit against two application developers accused of generating fraudulent revenue using the social media giant’s advertising platform.
JediMobi, based in Hong Kong, and LionMobi, based in Singapore, were part of Facebook’s audience network.
The network allows Facebook advertisers to host their ads on participating mobile applications, whose developers receive payments if the user clicks on them.
In the case of JediMobi and LionMobi, Facebook explains that many of the click-throughs created through their applications were not real human beings.
The developers of these applications have received more than 207 million installations to date, and these applications are still in the Android App Store
The applications involved are quite essential in design, including applications to scan phone storage, save battery life, scan for viruses, and take notes.
The social media giant said it had refunded money to the affected advertisers, and the company announced the lawsuit in a blog post, banning JediMobi and LionMobi from the public network.
The social media giant described the trial as the first of its kind against the practice, explaining that LionMobi announced its harmful facebook applications, in violation of its policies.
Jessica Romero, the prosecutor, said: Developers have made applications on the Google Play Store infect their users’ phones with malware.
« Malware has created false user clicks on Facebook ads that appear on users’ phones, giving the impression that users have clicked on the ads, » she says.
The graph uses a technique known as « click injection, » which relies on applications that generate fraudulent clicks on ads without the user’s knowledge, to artificially inflate the amount of advertising revenue.
Security researchers have already explained this problem, as developers often provide unimportant or easy to make applications that are downloaded millions of times, which in turn use their background presence to click on invisible ads without the user’s knowledge.