Facebook sues operator who collected data from 100,000 accounts for Instagram clones

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Image: Denis Charlet / Getty

Facebook filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the owner of a website that allegedly operated a network of Instagram clone sites using information from more than 100,000 public profiles. This complaint marks the social media giant’s latest move against organizations that violate its terms of service.

According to the company, Ensar Sahinturk, a Turkish national, used automation software to scrape profiles, photos and videos from more than 100,000 Instagram accounts without permission. He then published this data on his network of clone sites, many of which had names similar to that of the social photo network.

Facebook said it learned of the network in November 2019, and at least one of Sahinturk’s sites started operating in August 2017. In a statement to the TechCrunch, a company spokesman said the network had “massive traffic” but did not release specific data on the extent of its reach.

In a company blog post announcing the lawsuit, Jessica Romero, Facebook’s director of rules and litigation, said Facebook had already sent orders to Sahinturk to stop activities and deactivated his Facebook and Instagram accounts. Now the company is looking to “get a permanent injunction” against him.

“Data extraction harms people’s privacy and the ability to control their information and is prohibited by our Terms,” ​​said Romero. “This case is the most recent example of our actions to stop those who steal user data as part of our ongoing commitment to protect our community, enforce our policies and hold people accountable for abusing our services.”

Facebook has been suing in an aggressive campaign against developers and organizations that misuse its platform.

Last month, the company filed two lawsuits against companies caught selling likes and followers on Instagram. A developer living in Russia was sued in August for allegedly running a network of companies that similarly dealt with fake engagement on the platform.

Apparently, this is a lucrative line of work, which explains why so many fraudulent campaigns keep popping up. A chain in New Zealand reportedly earned more than $ 9 million selling artificial engagement services before Facebook filed a lawsuit against those responsible last year.





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