Presse release: By Jessica Romero, Facebook director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation
Facebook filed a lawsuit in federal court in California against Basant Gajjar. Using the name “LeadCloak,” Gajjar violated Facebook Terms and Policies by providing cloaking software and services designed to circumvent automated ad review systems, and ultimately run deceptive ads on Facebook and Instagram.
LeadCloak’s software also targeted a number of other technology companies including Google, Oath, WordPress, Shopify, and others.
Cloaking is a malicious technique that impairs ad review systems by concealing the nature of the website linked to an ad.
When ads are cloaked, a company’s ad review system may see a website showing an innocuous product such as a sweater, but a user will see a different website, promoting deceptive products and services which, in many cases, are not allowed.
In this case, Leadcloak’s software was used to conceal websites featuring scams related to COVID-19, cryptocurrency, pharmaceuticals, diet pills, and fake news pages. Some of these cloaked websites also included images of celebrities.
In addition to this filing, we have taken technical enforcement measures against Leadcloak and accounts that we’ve determined have used their software, including disabling personal and ad accounts on Facebook and Instagram. This suit will also further our efforts to identify Leadcloak’s customers and take additional enforcement actions against them.
This action is one of a number of efforts we are taking to protect our users and hold people who abuse our systems accountable in Court.