Meta settles lawsuit for ‘significant’ amount against businesses hacking Facebook and Instagram data • TechCrunch | Tech Reddy


Meta parent Facebook has settled a lawsuit in the US against two companies involved in data mining, which saw the collection of data from Facebook and Instagram users for marketing intelligence purposes, according to the first accusation in released in October 2020. The companies named. in the lawsuit, Israel’s BrandTotal Ltd and Unimania Inc. introduced by Delaware, agreed to a permanent injunction that prevents them from taking Facebook and Instagram data going forward or profiting from the data they have collected. They also agreed to pay a “substantial amount” as part of their settlement, Meta said.

Meta declined to disclose the amount paid, however, the court did not specify the amount.

According to BrandTotal’s website, his company released a real-time competitive platform designed to provide media, insights and analytics teams with social media strategy and paid campaigns. With these insights, its clients can analyze and change their budget allocations to take advantage of new opportunities, monitor trends and threats from emerging brands, optimize their advertising and messages and more away.

Meanwhile, Unimania operated apps that claimed to give users the ability to access social networks in different ways. For example, Unimania released applications that allow you to view Facebook through a web-mobile interface, along with other social networks such as Twitter. Another app that lets you view Instagram stories anonymously, it says.

The two companies developed and distributed products under the brand names UpVoice, Social One, Phoenix, Story Viewer Anonymous, Story Savebox, Calix and Privacy Panel.

The first complaint specifically mentioned two search extensions offered by the companies: Unimania’s “News Feed” and BrandTotal’s “UpVoice.” The former allowed users to save the ads they saw on Facebook for later reference, but also included users in a group that informed consumers’ ad decisions. Unimania company. UpVote rewarded users with gift cards for sharing their opinions on online campaigns run by brands.

According to a press release on the proposed settlement, both companies agreed to stop hacking or assisting others in data collection, destroying their software and code, and agreeing to prevent the distribution or sale of the data they have collected in their work, etc. . It also indicates that they agreed to pay damages in a confidential settlement.

The district court handling the case ruled in a summary judgment earlier this year that BrandTotal “did not violate the CFAA,” the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which governs computer hacking under US law.

This ruling comes weeks after the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that web scraping is illegal under the CFAA after the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, but The Ninth Circuit did not decide whether the shakeup violated the company’s terms of service or otherwise. contract contract.

But in its summary judgment, the district court found that BrandTotal had not shown that Facebook’s terms of service were unenforceable.

The case is one of several released by Meta designed to facilitate data extraction, including following the 2020 resolution and the Massroot8 extraction service. This year, the company also filed a lawsuit against a clone site operator and a company called Octopus, a US subsidiary of a Chinese high-tech enterprise that offered sandblasting services.

Meta said last year that it has a dedicated team of more than 100 people dedicated to detecting, preventing and stopping hacking. And in one year, it said there have been more than 300 enforcement actions to extract data and other malicious activities.

The problem can still threaten the user’s privacy, however. An April 2021 report revealed that personal data from 533 million Facebook users had been leaked online, through web crawling; Meta expanded its Bug Bounty program to address the issue. Recently, the use of Facebook Identifiers (FBIDs) was changed to make it more technically challenging for unauthorized downloads to occur in the first place.


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