Facebook and Attorney General Sue "Clickjackers"

    January 31, 2012

    Facebook is turning to the courts to fight “clickjacking,” according to Mashable.  Clickjacking occurs when users are presented with some kind of enticing material, such as a too-good-to-be-true promotion. The clickjackers add code to these links that hide the “like” button in the link itself. Once a user clicks the clickjacking link, the material is instantly shared to the user’s entire social network.

    Facebook and the Washington Attorney General filed separate lawsuits accusing Adscend Media of clickjacking. According to the Attorney General’s Complaint, Adscend Media operates an “affiliate advertising network that targets Facebook’s networking platform with deceptive unsolicited messages couched as messages from user’s friends.”  The general allegations of clickjacking are alleged as follows:

    Defendant’s advertising scheme is designed to trick Facebook users into allowing spam to be sent to all of their Facebook friends.  While the subjects and contents of these messages vary from advertising campaign to campaign, all of them deceive Facebook users in two ways: (l) they do not identify the Defendants or their affiliates as the senders of the message, and (2) they do not disclose that the messages are advertisements, despite the fact that the messages’ sole purpose is to lure users to participate in deceptive advertising scams if they click on the links presented in the posts. Given Facebook’s social environment; users unwittingly click on the links is because they believe the links were sent by their own Facebook friends.

    The Washington Attorney General’s Consumer High-Tech Protection unit alleged that Adscend’s clickjacking practices netted the company up to $1.2 millon each month.  Adscend Media denies the claims. A copy of the Attorney General’s Complaint can be found here.

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