Facebook started legal action against two Asia-based developers for allegedly installing malware on users’ smartphones through Android apps to generate fake impressions on adverts.
Bloomberg reported the social media giant filed a complaint against Singapore-based JediMobi Tech and LionMobi (Hong Kong), which are accused of engaging in a practice known as “click injection fraud”.
The companies allegedly installed malware on Google Play apps they made, which infected smartphones and generated fake clicks.
In total, Facebook alleged 40 million ad impressions and 1.7 million clicks were made over three months at the end of 2018, to artificially inflate ad revenue which the two companies then collected.
Facebook said it found the violation in December 2018, disabled the apps and banned the developers. It has also reimbursed advertisers who paid for the fake clicks.
“At times, the malware was delivered in the form of updates to the apps and, after October 2018, the malware was included directly in the apps,” Facebook said in the complaint.
It is currently unknown what damages the company is seeking.
Facebook’s lawsuit comes as the company faces up to increasing pressure from governments over the protection of user data and its duty to remove harmful content from its platforms.
Bloomberg said the company is also suing companies in China and New Zealand, accusing them of inflating likes and followers on Instagram仅提供信息存储空间服务。