Facebook, Instagram Fall Prey To Data Scraping; Indict Chinese Company

  • Meta Platforms, Inc META prosecuted Octopus Data, the U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese national high-tech enterprise Shenzhen Vision Information Technology Co.
  • Octopus Data allegedly offered data scraping services for Facebook and Instagram.
  • Meta also prosecuted a Turkey-based individual, Ekrem Ateş, for allegedly setting up automated Instagram accounts to scrape data from 350,000 Instagram users.
  • Also Read: Ireland Watchdog Initiates Facebook Probe After Data Leak Reports: Reuters
  • Octopus allegedly charges its customers to access a software product called Octoparse to launch scraping attacks. Customers could also pay Octopus to scrape websites directly. 
  • Customers had to give access to their accounts, allowing the software to glean data usually only available to logged-in users, including Facebook friends, email addresses, birth dates, phone numbers, and Instagram followers.
  • Octoparse is not limited to Meta's properties, either, with services offered across numerous sites, including Twitter Inc TWTRAlphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL YouTube, Amazon.com Inc AMZNMicrosoft Corp MSFT LinkedIn.
  • The case follows less than three months after a U.S. court reaffirmed an earlier ruling that web-scraping is legal, TechCrunch reports
  • The verdict followed a long-standing legal battle between LinkedIn and a data science company, Hiq Labs, which scraped personal information from LinkedIn to help its customers predict employee attrition.
  • Previously, a Chinese software developer sifted Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's BABA Taobao shopping website for eight months and secretly collected over 1.1 billion pieces of user information.
  • Price Action: META shares traded lower by 0.36% at $167.58 in the premarket on the last check Wednesday.
  • Photo by StockSnap from Pixabay

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