Facebook has filed a lawsuit in the US against Turkish software developer Ensar Sahinturk for scraping peoples publicly-visible information from Instagram in order to create a network of over 20 clone sites.
The social media network said Sahinturk used automation software to scrape public profiles, photos and videos from more than 100,000 Instagram accounts without Instagram’s permission and in violation of Facebook terms.
He published this data on a network of clone sites, where anyone could enter an Instagram username to view Instagram user profiles, pictures, videos, stories, hashtags and locations.
A clone site is a website that copies and displays Instagram or Facebook profiles, posts and other information without the users’ knowledge or consent.
When this happens, people lose visibility and control of who is viewing their content and interacting with their account.
Facebook had previously disabled the defendant’s Instagram and Facebook accounts and sent cease and desist letters. “We are now filing suit to obtain a permanent injunction against Sahinturk,” Facebook said.
Facebook in October filed a lawsuit against two companies that scraped data from its main app, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Amazon to sell “marketing intelligence” and other services in a global operation.
“The actions of BrandTotal, an Israeli-based company, and Unimania, incorporated in Delaware, violate our Terms of Service and we are pursuing legal action to protect our users,” Facebook had said in a statement.
These companies exploited users’ access to Facebook service through a set of browser extensions called UpVoice and Ads Feed designed to access and collect data.