Wonderland in the country of fools: how to avoid becoming a victim of fraudulent advertising on Facebook

Facebook is talking about a global problem with fraudulent ads on the platform. Can become a victim

everyone, especially those at risk who like to click on promises of fabulous freebies.

What happened?

Facebook attracts users' attention tothe problem of fake advertisements. Fraudsters have learned to bypass social network bans on promoting certain types of content using cloaking – masking the content in front of robots that perform automatic verification. Instead of ads approved by automatic verification systems, users see clickbait headlines, and links lead to pages with prohibited content. The Hong Kong company ILikeAd Media, together with two Chinese citizens, Chen Xiao Cong and Huang Tao, used cloaking to distribute phishing software that gained access to the user's account. On December 5, Facebook announced that the company was being sued in a California court, but said there are many scammers around the world, often working together or at least discussing ways to avoid punishment. And to solve the problem, you need user involvement.

The other day, the social network conducted a telephone interview with journalists from around the world, where she talked about the problem, her actions and how to protect herself from it.

What do fraudulent ads look like?

According to Business Insider, the ads containedadvertising of diet pills, investments in cryptocurrency, sexual content. Often such advertisements feature celebrities or other public figures. Facebook says this makes it difficult to automate the search and removal of such ads – after all, public people are often mentioned in normal announcements, for example, the media write about them.

Typical fake ads.

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According to Rob Lazerne, Director of Managementproducts, ad content, and scammers are constantly changing to move away from the detection systems Facebook creates. Years earlier, often this was an offer to take advantage of the free trial period in some service, and scammers used world stars to attract attention. Nowadays, the topic of announcements is often cryptocurrency, and the stars have gone easier, local. Although less effective, it allows fraudsters to go unnoticed longer.

Such advertisements are distributed by fake orcompromised accounts (that is, accounts of ordinary users that have been hacked). In the case of ILikeAd Media, the total cost of &#8220;campaigns&#8221; amounted to millions of dollars. And these costs fell on the wallets of the victims themselves, whose accounts the attackers gained access to after they installed phishing software.

What does Facebook do?

Similar advertisements are distributed throughoutto the world. The design or content may vary slightly from country to country, but Facebook says the problem is global. And that even if the company finds the culprit, it cannot punish him personally &#8211; This requires legislative instruments. And they are not available in all countries. Therefore, for its part, in addition to improving algorithms for detecting such content and improving manual moderation, Facebook is working with local authorities in the countries where it operates. Well, he files lawsuits. Lawsuit against ILikeAd Media &#8211; not the first and not the only one.

How not to fall for scam ads?

  • Do not click on ads for magic diet pills and fabulous cryptocurrency wealth, and other clickbait headers.
  • If you clicked and got to an incomprehensible site, do not install anything (in general, of course, you should never download anything and install it from suspicious sources) and leave it as soon as possible.
  • Complain about suspicious ads inFacebook Unfortunately, a full-fledged complaint form for such ads is still available in the United States and will soon appear in a limited number of countries where it is currently in the testing phase. But at least complain about the announcement right now.