Facebook has filed a lawsuit against Ensar Sahinturk for collecting public information about people from the Instagram platform in order to establish a network of cloned sites.
The Turkish company Ensar Sahinturk violates the terms of service, as it copies and displays personal accounts and other information from Instagram without the users’ knowledge or consent.
Accordingly, people lose visibility and control over who views their content and interacts with their accounts, and anyone can enter their Instagram username to view their account, photos, videos, stories, hashtags, and websites.
Ensar Sahinturk used an automated program to collect public accounts, images and videos from more than 100,000 accounts without permission, and published this data across its network of websites.
Facebook has learned of the network of cloned sites since November 2019, and the Turkish company has controlled a number of sites, many of which have names similar to Instagram, including jolygram, imggram, finalgram, pikdo and ingram.
The jolygram website has been in use since August 2017, while other sites were registered in subsequent years as the network expanded.
Facebook does not mention the size of these sites in terms of the number of visitors, but it described the network of cloned sites as having huge traffic.
In addition to what Facebook claims to be a trademark infringement associated with these sites, the sites contain data cloned from Instagram through software that pretends to be a human rather than a data access robot.
The Turkish company was able to evade security measures against machine tools by making the requests appear to come from someone using the official Instagram app.
Ensar Sahinturk has used thousands of fake Instagram accounts that will simulate actions that real users of the Instagram app can take.
Facebook said: The number of fake accounts used daily could be very high, as Ensar Sahinturk on April 22, 2020 used more than 9,000 accounts to make automatic requests to Facebook’s servers.
The cloned websites network also allowed visitors to download photos and videos posted via Instagram, a feature provided by the platform directly.
In 2019, Facebook tried to protect its platform from violations by disabling the nearly 30,000 fake Instagram accounts managed by Ensar Sahinturk.
Facebook claims it has spent more than $ 25,000 investigating and trying to resolve issues related to the defendant’s operations, and is seeking damages that are determined during trial.
This lawsuit represents one of many lawsuits filed by Facebook in the years following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which data from millions of platform users were collected without permission.
Facebook has since filed lawsuits against analytics companies misusing their data, and developers who violated its terms of selling the fake likes.