Meta Sues Company With Ties to China for Scraping Facebook, Instagram Data

Meta Sues Company With Ties to China for Scraping Facebook, Instagram Data

A little-known business with connections to China is being sued by Meta for gathering user information from Facebook and Instagram.

A California-based business called Octopus Data is involved in the issue; it uses web scraping as a marketing tool on a website called Octoparse. In order to stop the practice, Meta filed a complaint on Tuesday in a US District Court, alleging user privacy.

“Octopus designed the software to scrape data accessible to the user when logged into their accounts, including data about their Facebook Friends such as email address, phone number, gender and date of birth, as well as Instagram followers and engagement information such as name, user profile URL, location and number of likes and comments per post,” Meta claims.

Additionally, Octoparse is controlled by Shenzhen Vision Information Technology (SVIT), a company that sells mining-capable "big data products," according to Meta's lawsuit. utilize the Internet to gather knowledge.

After purchasing the domain name in 2015, according to Meta, SVIT might have attempted to hide its connection to Octoparse. According to the company's lawsuit, "the footage was anonymized using a safeguard on March 21, 2018, and information about the owner is no longer publicly available".

Social Media Data Solution
Source: Octoparse

Meta, however, claimed to have found SVIT CEO Keven Liu's Facebook page selling a site scraping business.

The site severance, according to Meta, violates Facebook and Instagram's terms of service. Meta is currently asking a US court to get involved. According to the lawsuit, Octoparse was designed with a number of evasion mechanisms to shield it from detection by organizations like Meta. Customers can use Octoparse to delete data not only from Facebook and Instagram but also from Twitter, YouTube, and e-commerce websites like Amazon.

A request for comment from Octopus Data was not immediately reacted to. On the other hand, the company's website and YouTube channel promoted web search as a tool to help users more effectively interact on social media.

In the meantime, Meta is requesting that the court permanently prohibit Octopus Data from using Facebook or Instagram while also ordering the business to make restitution. Additionally, Meta claimed to have deleted the Octoparse-related accounts on Facebook and Instagram.