Facebook sues New Zealand-based firm for selling fake Instagram likes and followers

Facebook typically bans entities that it finds to be in violation of its terms of use - inauthentic activities being among other prohibitions. But the social media giant has taken things a step further by suing a New Zealand-based company for selling fake engagement services on Instagram.

The company announced today that it filed the lawsuit in a U.S. federal court against the unnamed firm and three other individuals in connection with their business of providing fake likes, views, and followers to Instagram users through different online services. The accounts used by the defendants were previously banned from the platform after Facebook warned them of their violations, but their activity continued anyway. Additionally, Facebook accused the defendants of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other California laws regulating the distribution of fake engagements online.

Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation at Facebook, wrote in a blog post:

"Inauthentic activity has no place on our platform. That’s why we devote significant resources to detecting and stopping this behavior, including blocking the creation and use of fake accounts, and using machine learning technology to proactively find and remove inauthentic activity from Instagram."

The lawsuit highlights the social networking site's broader effort to purge its ecosystem of inauthentic activities and engagements. Late last year, Instagram said that it would be cracking down on fake followers using machine learning tools.

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