Airbnb removes US ‘slave cabin’ listing after public outrage

LONDON: Meta filed a lawsuit on Thursday against a surveillance company it claims created fake Facebook user accounts to collect people’s data.

According to the filing, Meta alleges that Voyager Labs created more than 38,000 accounts to collect data from more than 600,000 Facebook users, including posts, likes, friend lists, photos, comments and group and page information.

“Meta is fighting back against a scraping service and has filed a lawsuit against Voyager Labs in federal court in California,” it said in a statement.

“Our lawsuit alleges that Voyager violated our terms of service against fake accounts and unauthorized and automated scraping,” he said, adding that he was seeking a permanent injunction against the monitoring company.

Voyager Labs specializes in advanced AI-based software and services used by law enforcement and private companies to obtain information on suspects and more.

Meta said Voyage Labs “developed and used proprietary software to launch scratching campaigns” that targeted users on the tech giant’s social media platforms as well as Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Telegram.

Meta said it contacted Voyage Labs in November, asking the monitoring company to cease all scraping activity on its platforms before removing more than 60,000 Facebook and Instagram profiles and pages linked to Voyager Labs.

Mark Zuckerberg’s company also asked the court to order Voyager Labs to relinquish its “ill-gotten profits in an amount to be proven at trial”.

The lawsuit follows a 2021 investigation by British newspaper The Guardian which found that Voyage Labs partnered with the Los Angeles Police Department in 2019.

In the investigation, the surveillance firm reportedly said it could use social media data to predict who would commit a crime.

According to an internal report obtained by The Guardian, Voyager Labs said it was “considering using an Instagram name displaying Arab pride or tweeting about Islam as signs of potential extremism.”

However, Meta said it discovered Voyage Labs scraping activities, a practice that refers to an automated process of using software to scan a webpage and compile information on it, only in July.

Although no direct link between the two cases could be established, Meta said that companies like Voyager “are part of an industry that provides scraping services to anyone, regardless of the users they are using. they target and for what purpose, including as a way to profile people for criminal behavior.”

In July, Meta filed two lawsuits against Octopus and Ekrem Ates, a Turkey-based individual, accusing them of providing scraping-for-hire services on Instagram.

The latest lawsuit follows a similar case involving LinkedIn and HR data science company hiQ Labs in one of the most contentious scraping cases in recent history.

After six years of litigation, hiQ Labs has agreed to pay the Microsoft-owned company $500,000 following a mixed decision by a California district court in November in which the judge ruled that hiQ Labs violated LinkedIn’s terms of use regarding data scraping.

The case was watched with particular attention after privacy advocates and experts expressed concern that the outcome would jeopardize the work of journalists and watchdog groups who use automation technologies. to monitor public websites.

Comments are closed.