Once again, the Facebook ad team seems to be letting some, um, questionable ads through the approval process. Here’s one that I saw today. First, the ad itself – do you think this could be intended to confuse users as to whether this is a lead gen company or the government?

OK, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that the headline writer was just a bit over-zealous. Let’s move on to the landing page here:

So the URL is “CriminalJusticeDepartment.org.” Um, yeah, there’s definitely some misrepresentation going on here. Of course, not surprisingly, after filling out all of your personal information you get to the inevitable list of for-profit schools from which you can get criminal justice degrees (which is tangential at best to joining the CIA).

But lest we just conclude that this is simply false advertising to the nth degree, our friends at the CIA/Criminal Justice Department have one more surprise in store for us – that’s right, malware!

So let’s recap – representing themselves as both the CIA and the Criminal Justice Department *and* throwing some malware on users’ computers. Paging the Google Quality Score department – Facebook is now hiring!


  1. Terry Whalen August 16th, 2010

    heh, good one, nice find…

  2. anamonous August 19th, 2010

    I have seen this type of malware when you click on a web ad from piratebay, weatherbug, and mininova. not 100% sure on isohunt. Very hard to clean for an amatuer registry editor, even in safe mode. Once installed finally the anti-virus kicks in.

    suggestion for a clean install:
    1. do not enable drive restore in the control panel restore on all drives because it installs itself in the hidden restore.
    2. I have done a windows install, formatting the drive.
    do a ghost partition image backup to another drive. back all important data to another drive. faster partition image restore. wipes all relevant data in the windows drive.

  3. anon August 24th, 2010

    It’s Vantage Media. A supposedly upstanding PPC management company…

  4. davidzhawk August 24th, 2010

    That is shocking! I really assumed it was some Boca Raton fly-by-night!

  5. Connor Bringas August 27th, 2010

    Wow thats a terrible ad altogether. Im sure they got some leads from it though. I cant believe that horrible ad

  6. AJ September 13th, 2010

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who was shocked by that ad. The fishy dot-org address pretty much tipped me off, but if that weren’t enough, the bullet holes and the Saleen sports coup done up as a cop car are nice hints lol

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about the malware, but this is really sad (that Facebook would sanction such a thing, I mean).

  7. DragonSearch September 29th, 2010

    A lot of ads on Facebook are misleading. Some of the actual landing pages have little to do with the ads that bring the user there. This is why Google will always be a better platform to advertise on – it is trust worthy.

  8. Cassie April 13th, 2011

    That’s a mold-baekrer. Great thinking!

  9. agoodmirror December 13th, 2010

    I saw this ad and did a search on the url to see if anyone else had pointed out the obvious before making a post myself about it (lol)…but your post was the only one in three pages of returns which addressed the topic.

    Additionally I didn’t even take the time to dig to the malware portion, just the concept itself that the CIA would farm operatives (or even analysts) off the net was ludicrous enough for me to be inspired to post…the malware is just gravy.

  10. Rando December 22nd, 2010

    Had exactly the same experience as agoodmirror and ended up here. They have now upgraded the ad to show a “SUPERMAXXEXXTREME!!!” action packed ass kicker:

  11. Rando December 22nd, 2010

    Rando :
    Had exactly the same experience as agoodmirror and ended up here. They have now upgraded the ad to show a “SUPERMAXXEXXTREME!!!” action packed ass kicker:

    Whoops…forgot the link: http://img697.imageshack.us/img697/3482/65012419.jpg

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David Rodnitzky
David Rodnitzky is founder and CEO of 3Q Digital (formerly PPC Associates), a position he has held since the Company's inception in 2008. Prior to 3Q Digital, he held senior marketing roles at several Internet companies, including Rentals.com (2000-2001), FindLaw (2001-2004), Adteractive (2004-2006), and Mercantila (2007-2008). David currently serves on advisory boards for several companies, including Marin Software, MediaBoost, Mediacause, and a stealth travel start-up. David is a regular speaker at major digital marketing conferences and has contributed to numerous influential publications, including Venture Capital Journal, CNN Radio, Newsweek, Advertising Age, and NPR's Marketplace. David has a B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago and a J.D. with honors from the University of Iowa. In his spare time, David enjoys salmon fishing, hiking, spending time with his family, and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes, not necessarily in that order.