What Is Click Injection Fraud?
The scheme involves apps that fraudulently generate ad clicks to artificially increase ad revenue. These apps click on invisible ads in the background without the user's knowledge.
Facebook said that the two developers, Hong Kong-based LionMobi and Singapore-based JediMobi, made Google Play apps that installed malware on a user's phone with the intent of generating fake clicks on Facebook ads. The developers then earn revenue from the fraudulently clicked ads.
Facebook Sues LionMobi And JediMobi
According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, LionMobi released the app "Power Clean - Antivirus and Phone Cleaner App", while JediMobi created a calculator app called "Calculator Plus" for Android devices.
The developers allegedly used these apps to install malware on people's phones last year to generate a fake click on ads.
"The developers made apps available on the Google Play store to infect their users' phones with malware," Jessica Romero, Facebook's director of platform enforcement and litigation, said in a statement.
"The malware created fake user clicks on Facebook ads that appeared on the users' phones, giving the impression that the users had clicked on the ads."
Facebook also said that LionMobi advertised its malicious apps on Facebook, which violates the company's policies.
Developers Banned From Facebook's Ad Network
Facebook said it already banned the two developers from its ad network and refunded the affected advertisers in March 2019. Apps from the two developers can still be found on Google Play.
Facebook said the lawsuit is one of the first of its kind against click injection schemes. Google, however, has increasingly taken action against Play Store apps that use the click injection scheme. Last year, the search engine company removed over 30 apps that use ad fraud schemes.