Facebook Files 2 Lawsuits Over the Use of Unauthorized Automation Software

Actions were taken in Madrid and San Francisco

Facebook took aim at data scraping service Massroot8 Massroot8

Facebook filed concurrent lawsuits in Madrid and San Francisco over the use of unauthorized automation software on Facebook and Instagram.

Director of platform enforcement and litigation Jessica Romero said in a Newsroom post that Facebook and Facebook Ireland filed suit in the commercial court of Madrid against MGP25 Cyberint Services and its founder, alleging that the company provided automation software to distribute fake likes and comments on Instagram.

Romero said the defendant bypassed Instagram’s restrictions against fake engagement by mimicking the way the official Instagram application connected to Facebook’s systems, adding that this was done for profit and continued after Facebook sent the company a cease-and-desist letter and disabled its accounts.

The social network also sued Mohammad Zaghar in federal court in San Francisco for operating a data scraping service called Massroot8, which asked people to provide their Facebook login credentials on its website and then used that information to scrape user data.

Romero said Zaghar collected the data by using a computer program to control a network of bots, which pretended to be an Android device connected to the official Facebook mobile app, adding that the activity continued after Facebook sent him a cease-and-desist letter and disabled his accounts

She added, “This is one of the first times a social media company is using coordinated, multijurisdictional litigation to enforce its terms and protect its users … Today’s legal actions demonstrate our commitment to enforcing our policies and holding people accountable for abusing our services.”

The social network also revamped its Privacy Matters page.

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