Facebook has filed lawsuits in the United States and Europe against companies for the use of unauthorized automation software that generates fake Facebook and Instagram likes and comments.
Separate lawsuits have been filed in the United States and Europe, which marks one of the first times a social media company has used coordinated, multi-jurisdictional litigation to enforce its Terms of Service.
Facebook alleges these companies to violate the laws in Spain and the US. Facebook is seeking injunctions to reinforce a permanent ban against these companies’ use of Facebook and Instagram.
Details of each lawsuit:
The lawsuit in the United States is against a company that operates a data scraping service, called Massroot8, which has ties to California.
Massroot8 scraped user data from Facebook after its users provided their login information.
This was accomplished by using a computer program to control a network of bots, which were disguised as Android devices connected to the official Facebook app.
The scraping was done without users’ knowledge. Users of Massroot8 thought they were signing up to a service that allowed them to manage multiple Facebook accounts at once.
Massroot8’s users did not know their login information was being used for the purpose of harvesting data.
Facebook is specifically suing the founder of the company, Mohammad Zaghar, in federal court in San Francisco. Apparently, Zaghar had operated websites selling fake likes and follows prior to starting Massroot8.
Court documents reveal Massroot8 has accessed over 5,500 Facebook accounts. This act has violated Facebook’s Terms of Service, and more importantly, US’ Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Massroot8’s website is currently offline, which shows that the company is taking Facebook’s legal action seriously.
The European lawsuit is against a company based in Spain, called MGP25 Cyberint Services, which operated a fake engagement service selling likes and comments.
The lawsuit against MGP25 Cyberint Service is relatively smaller compared to the lawsuit against Massroot8.
According to a company profile, MGP25 Cyberint Services generates less than $100,000 in annual revenue:
“MGP25 CYBERINT SERVICES SL. is located in MADRID, Spain and is part of the Computer & Office Equipment Wholesalers Industry. MGP25 CYBERINT SERVICES SL. has 2 total employees across all of its locations and generates $77,000 in sales (USD).”
This shows that Facebook is willing to take legal action against any company violating its Terms of Service, regardless how big or small the company and the violation is.
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