Meta filed lawsuits due to unauthorized extraction of data of Facebook and Instagram users

The company Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, filed two separate lawsuits, one against the company Octopus and the other against Turkish citizen Ekrem Ates, in both cases for extracting the data of Facebook and Instagram users.

Octopus is the US subsidiary of a Chinese multinational technology company that offers data collection services to individuals and companies. Octopus sells software that the company’s clients can use for their own data mining campaigns from any website. Octopus claims to have more than a million users, who can launch so-called “scraping” attacks from their cloud platform or pay a company to do it for them. Octopus offers data extraction from Amazon, eBay, Twitter, Yelp, Google, Target, Walmart, Indeed, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

“Scraping” is a term used to describe the process in which automated bots quickly go through a large number of web pages, copying data from them.

When they pay for access to the scraping software, customers give Octopus their credentials, effectively compromising their own Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Software designed by Octopus extracts data available to users when they are logged into their accounts, including their Facebook friends’ data such as email address, phone number, gender and date of birth, Instagram followers, profile URL, location and number of likes and comments per post.

“Companies like Octopus are part of an emerging scraping industry that provides automated services to any customer regardless of who they target and for what purpose,” said Meta. “This industry is making scraping available to individuals and companies that otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity.”

Meta alleges that Octopus violated its platform’s terms of use and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by offering an automated scraping service and attempting to avoid detection by the company.

As for Ekrem Ates, who was also sued by Meta on the same grounds as Octopus, the company says he used “automated Instagram accounts” to collect information on more than 350,000 Instagram users and later publish that information on a series of cloned sites of his own on which it was possible to see the data of individuals without their permission.

Meta says it has taken multiple actions against Ates since early 2021, including disabling accounts, sending warnings, and terminating access to Meta’s services.

This is not the first time that Meta has filed a lawsuit to stop the extraction of data from the platform. In 2020, for example, the company sued a Turkish national who extracted data from more than 100,000 Instagram profiles.

Source: by

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