Facebook sues developer for scraping people’s Instagram profiles

Image Credit: The Culture Trip

Facebook has filed a lawsuit against Ensar Sahinturk; a developer for scraping people’s profiles on Instagram for the purpose of creating a network of clone sites. Facebook announced this on Thursday; stating that the developer made use of “automation software to scrape public profiles, photos and videos from more than 100,000 Instagram accounts without Instagram’s permission and in violation of our Terms.”

Facebook in an official announcement said Sahinturk then published the data he collected on a network of clone sites, where anyone could have access to enter an Instagram username to view Instagram user profiles, pictures, videos, stories, hashtags and locations. 

The social media behemoth said it had previously disabled the developer’s Instagram and Facebook accounts and sent cease and desist letters. To further add to that, the company said it has now filed a lawsuit to obtain a permanent injunction against the developer.

“Data scraping undermines people’s privacy and ability to control their information, and is prohibited by our Terms. This case is the latest example of our actions to disrupt those who scrape user data as part of our ongoing commitment to protect our community, enforce our policies and hold people accountable for abusing our services.”

In 2019, Instagram and its parent company Facebook both filed a suit  in a US federal court against one company and three individuals based in New Zealand for selling fake likes to people. According to Facebook, the company and individuals involved “operated a service that provided fake likes, views and followers to Instagram users.”

The defendants allegedly used different companies and websites to sell fake engagement services to Instagram users. Facebook had earlier suspended the accounts of the individuals concerned including formally warning them in writing over violating its Terms of Use—all to no avail before taking up the option of filing a lawsuit.

Facebook strongly believes that its lawsuit will send a strong message to perpetrators of such acts that it would no longer fold its hands while its policies are being violated.

Also in 2019, Facebook took legal action against four Chinese firms for promoting sale of fake likes, accounts and followers. The law suit was filed by Facebook and its sister company Instagram in the US federal court against the four companies and three other people based in China.

Facebook prayed the court to prevent the companies and individuals involved from the following:

  • Creating and promoting the sale of fake accounts, likes, and followers on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Infringing on our trademarks on their websites.
  • Using Facebook branded domain names to operate their websites (i.e. cyber-squatting).

Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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