Facebook is suing Basant Gajjar (aka LeadCloak) for allegedly selling software that helped bad actors circumvent Facebook’s automated ad review systems and push deceptive ads around COVID-19 and other scams. As the name suggests, LeadCloak’s software allegedly provided cloaking services, a malicious technique Facebook has been fighting for years. According to Facebook’s announcement, LeadCloack’s software also targeted companies like Google, Oath (aka Verizon Media, the parent company of Engadget), WordPress and Shopify.
Cloaking works by showing a company’s ad review system an innocuous product or website and showing users something completely different. According to Facebook, LeadCloak’s software was used to conceal websites with scams related to the coronavirus pandemic, cryptocurrency, pharmaceuticals, diet pills and fake news. Those shady ads showed up on both Facebook and Instagram.