Facebook said it has initiated legal proceedings against two Android app developers on charges of using malware codes that could fake ad clicks to generate revenue. The two apps, JediMobi based out of Hong Kong and LionMobi created by a Singapore based developer used to be part of Facebook’s Audience Network, which enabled advertisers to place their ads on the app.
The development is unprecedented considering that Facebook has never been this strict with developers adopting unfair means. The most it has done before with developers was to ban their apps from its network if found to adopt unfair means. This happens to be the first time the social media giant has gone to the extent of suing the developers for violating its terms of service.
Analysts claim the move is aimed at sending a clear signal to developers that such violations won’t go uncontested in the courts. This should also serve to repair the somewhat tarnished image of the company itself post the several privacy issues it has faced in recent years and should help restore some faith in the company and its functioning.
Interestingly, Google is yet to respond to the development considering that both happen to be Android apps hosted at PlayStore. The app LionMobi continues to be available for download even though JediMobi seems missing completely. Google hasn’t stated if JediMobi has been banned on PlayStore or the developer itself pulled the application.
However, both the developers have other apps on offer on PlayStore, with some going for millions of downloads. It is not known if those too are being used to create click injection frauds to deceive unsuspecting users.
Facebook meanwhile also refunded the advertises the amount they lost to fake clicks back in March 2019 itself. The social media company, however, didn’t reveal exactly how much they have refunded or if it is demanding any amount from the developers they have sued.
Also, with millions of apps currently available in different apps stores and with most apps having an existence on every such app stores, the need of the hour is to develop a common strategy to deal with such fraudsters. This way, with each of the company pursuing the matter, developers will likely be less inclined to adopt unfair means.
Till that happens, if at all, it would be up to the individual companies to tackle such nuisance while the developers try to get away with the others.