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Facebook files lawsuit against companies for selling fake Instagram followers

Facebook on Tuesday announced that it has filed two separate lawsuits against four individuals for selling fake followers on Instagram and inflate likes.

twitter-logoAnkita Chakravarti | October 21, 2020 | Updated 09:39 IST

Highlights

  • Facebook has filed two separate lawsuits against four individuals for selling fake followers on Instagram and inflate likes.
  • Facebook that two users from New York and two from Dubai used the website boostgram.com and instant-fans.com to sell fake followers.
  • Facebook says that it had sent cease and desist letters to inform them before filing lawsuits.

Facebook on Tuesday announced that it has filed two separate lawsuits against four individuals for selling fake followers on Instagram and inflate likes. The social media giant in a blog revealed that two users from New York and two from Dubai used the website boostgram.com and instant-fans.com to sell fake followers.

"Today, we filed separate lawsuits in federal court against four individuals providing services intended to artificially inflate likes and followers of Instagram accounts, a practice known as fake engagement. Defendants Sean Heilweil and Jarrett Lusso, from New York, provided their service using the website boostgram.com. Defendants Laila Abou Trabi and Robin Abou Trabi, based in Dubai, used the website instant-fans.com," Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation said in a blog.

Facebook noted in the blog that Boostgram was used to get fake engagement. The company on its website mentions that it provides users a way to "increase Instagram exposure". instant-fans.com on the other hand offered fake engagement services not only for Instagram also offered fake engagement services for Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other web services.

Before filing a lawsuit against the companies in the federal court, Facebook says that it had sent cease and desist letters to inform them that they were violating the Terms of Use, Policies, and Community Guidelines of Instagram. But now with the lawsuit, Facebook wants to put an end to the malpractices permanently.

The social media giant also took action against businesses for running online scams. The company sent cease and desist letters to seven businesses in Asia and Europe for defrauding online users who purchased items from their sites. The actions were taken based on the users' complaints.

"Each of the companies used Facebook and Instagram to post ads for consumer products. When someone clicked the link in the ad to buy a product, the user was redirected to a third-party website to complete their purchase. After paying for the item, the user either never received the item or received an item that is different than the item described in the ad. In all cases, people were unable to return items or obtain a refund. Today's legal actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to protecting users, enforcing our policies, and holding people accountable for abusing our services," the Facebook blog read.

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