Meta has launched a lawsuits over alleged data scraping on its social media platforms Facebook and Instagram.
Separate federal lawsuits were brought by the corporation against a company called Octopus and an individual named Ekrem Ateş.
The former is the US subsidiary of a Chinese global technology firm that provides data scraping services to individuals and businesses.
Meta said: “Companies like Octopus are part of an emerging scraping industry that provides automation services to any customer — regardless of who they target and for what purpose they scrape.”
“This industry makes scraping available to individuals and companies that otherwise would not have the capabilities.”
Octopus also offers software that allows anyone to conduct their own data-collecting operations.
This program initially penetrates the user’s Facebook and Instagram accounts by giving Octopus their authentication information before scraping all of the data accessible through those accounts.
The software can then collect phone numbers, dates of birth, and other personal information from every Facebook and Instagram connection of a particular Octopus user.
Octopus is accused of violating Meta’s terms of service and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by giving an automated scraping service and attempting to escape detection.
The company claims Ates utilized automated Instagram accounts to acquire information on over 350,000 Instagram users.
He is accused of putting that data on a number of clone sites where anybody could read that people’s info without their permission.
Meta claims it has taken various enforcement procedures against Ateş since the beginning of 2021, including sending him a cease and desist letter and terminating his access to its services.
This isn’t the first time Meta has taken legal action to attempt to curb data scraping.
In 2020, for example, the business sued a Turkish individual who collected more than 100,000 Instagram profiles.