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. Become a victim

everyone, especially at risk, lovers click on the promises of a fabulous freebie.

What happened?

Facebook attracts users tothe problem of fake advertisements. Fraudsters have learned to circumvent social network prohibitions on promoting a certain type of content using cloaking - masking content in front of robots that automatically check. Instead of automatic ad verification systems, users see clickbait headers, and links lead to pages with prohibited content. Hong Kong-based ILikeAd Media, along with two Chinese citizens, Chen Xiao Tsong and Huang Tao, using cloaking, distributed phishing software that accessed the user's account. Facebook said on December 5 that the company was suing the company in a California court, but said there were many scammers around the world, often working together or at least discussing ways to avoid punishment. And to cope with 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, cryptocurrency investments, sexual content. Often in such ads appear celebrities or other public people. Facebook says that this complicates the automation of finding and deleting such ads - after all, public people are often mentioned in normal ads, 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 ads spread fake orCompromised accounts (that is, ordinary user accounts that have been hacked). In the case of ILikeAd Media, the total cost of the “campaigns” amounted to millions of dollars. And these expenses fell on the purses of the victims themselves, access to the accounts of which the attackers got after they installed phishing software.

What does Facebook do?

Similar ads are distributed throughoutto the world. The layout or content may vary slightly from country to country, but Facebook says the problem is global. And even if the company finds the one to blame, it cannot personally punish him - this requires legislative tools. And they are not in all countries. Therefore, for its part, in addition to improving the detection algorithms for such content and improving manual moderation, Facebook works with local authorities in the countries of presence. Well, and sues. The lawsuit against ILikeAd Media is neither the first nor 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.