Facebook Sues 2 Companies for Data Scraping

They were also mining Instagram, Amazon, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube

The BrandTotal dashboard, from its website BrandTotal

Facebook filed a lawsuit Thursday against two companies that it accused of data scraping from Facebook and Instagram, as well as Amazon, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

Director of platform enforcement and litigation Jessica Romero said in a Newsroom post that BrandTotal, based in Israel, and Unimania, incorporated in Delaware, used scraping to engage in an international data harvesting operation, using the data they scraped to sell marketing intelligence and other services.

Romero explained, “Scraping is a form of data collection that relies on unauthorized automation for the purpose of extracting data from a website or app. In order to evade our protections against scraping, these companies exploited our users’ access to our service through a set of browser extensions called ‘UpVoice’ and ‘Ads Feed’ designed to access and collect data. When people installed the extensions and visited our websites, the browser extensions used automated programs to scrape their name, user ID, gender, date of birth, relationship status, location information and other information related to their accounts. The defendants’ extensions sent the scraped data to a server shared by BrandTotal and Unimania.”

The company filed a pair of similar lawsuits in August, in the U.K. and the U.S.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.