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Facebook sues Indian-American techie over deceptive ads on COVID-19

San Francisco, April 10 (IANS) Facebook has filed a lawsuit against Indian-American software architect Basant Gajjar who violated the company’s policies by providing ad-cloaking software and services designed to circumvent automated ad review systems, and ultimately run deceptive ads on both Facebook and Instagram.

Gajjar operated under the name ‘LeadCloak’ and provided ad-cloaking software designed to push fake news and scams related to COVID-19, cryptocurrency, pharmaceuticals, diet pills and fake news pages. Some of cloaked websites also included images of celebrities.

LeadCloak’s software also targeted a number of other technology companies including Google, Oath, WordPress, Shopify, and others, claimed Facebook in its lawsuit filed in federal court in California.

“Cloaking is a malicious technique that impairs ad review systems by concealing the nature of the website linked to an ad,” Facebook said in a statement late Thursday.

“When ads are cloaked, a company’s ad review system may see a website showing an innocuous product such as a sweater, but a user will see a different website, promoting deceptive products and services which, in many cases, are not allowed,” explained Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation at Facebook.

According to Gajjar’s brief profile available on Internet, he is a digital marketer, SaaS expert and Founder and System Architect at LeadCloak.com.

Gajjar earned Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems, General from California State University-Sacramento and Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, also from California State University-Sacramento.

In addition to the lawsuit, Facebook said it has taken technical enforcement measures against Leadcloak and accounts that “we’ve determined have used their software, including disabling personal and ad accounts on Facebook and Instagram”.

“This suit will also further our efforts to identify Leadcloak’s customers and take additional enforcement actions against them”.

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An Indian-American cardiologist from Dayton, Ohio, who was reportedly hospitalized for covid-19, has received a plasma donation after a call for help from the community across the US. Dr. Mukul Chandra is the medical director of cardiac preventive care and research at Miami Valley Hospital. According to the appeal by his medical fraternity that was circulated widely on social media, Dr Chandra was on a ventilator, and was looking for a plasma donor who has tested positive for covid-19 and then made a full recovery. “This is an FDA approved treatment on an individual basis and has been proven to be lifesaving in some cases, especially among critically ill patients,” the appeal added. Hematologist Dr Jhansi Koduri, who is affiliated with Miami Valley Hospital, through a Facebook post, said a plasma donor had been found. “It’s very exciting that we found a convalescent plasma donor for Dr.Mukul Chandra today,” her post dated April 6 said. “We are forever grateful for all the volunteers that stepped forward to donate plasma and numerous others working in the background to make it happen.” “On the behalf of Dr.Chandra’s family and friends we would like to thank everyone and to pray for his continued improvement and recovery.” She also made an appeal to potential plasma donors to contact the Red Cross at https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/dlp/plasma-donations-from-recovered-covid-19-patients.html or local community blood banks to help those in need. Full report on our website. Link in the bio. #covid19 #drmukulsharma #plasmadonor #indianamerican #indianamericannews #nrinews #nripulse

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