Facebook has taken 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. Paul Grewal, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Litigation at Facebook announced the company’s decision in a post on Friday.
“Today, Facebook and Instagram filed a lawsuit in US federal court against four companies and three people based in the People’s Republic of China for promoting the sale of fake accounts, likes and followers,” Grewal said in a statement on Friday. “They did this on both Facebook and Instagram as well as other online service providers including Amazon, Apple, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter. We’re also enforcing our rights under US intellectual property law for their illegal use of our trademarks and brand.”
He [Grewal] reiterated Facebook’s commitment to fighting against such acts, vowing to forcefully “protect the integrity of our platform.”
Facebook is praying 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)
That is probably the kind of action the EU wants to see Facebook and other online platforms take in order to fight disinformation. The European Union wants Google, Facebook and Twitter to do more in terms of curbing disinformation. This came on the heels of a report published by the EU where it asked for more information to monitor the progress made especially “on the scrutiny of ad placement, transparency of political advertising, closure of fake accounts and marking systems for automated bots.”
All three [Facebook, Twitter and Google] had signed a Code of Practice to clamp down on fake news, which currently assuming an alarming dimension. You will recall that all three online platforms have been working together to support integrity of elections in various countries. Twitter recently suspended some influencer accounts on the eve of the Presidential elections held last week in Nigeria.
One key area in which the EU wants Google, Facebook and Twitter to do more is in identification of specific benchmarks to enable tracking and measurement of progress in the European Union. “The quality of the information provided varies from one signatory of the Code to another depending on the commitment areas covered by each report. This clearly shows that there is room for improvement for all signatories.”
In January 2018, Facebook deployed machine learning to sustain the pressure on pages spreading fake news. The social media giant announced a number of measures that involve using machine learning to identify fake articles that are copied and pasted by various accounts.