Meta sues a site cloner who allegedly scraped over 350,000 Instagram profiles

Meta takes legal action against two prolific data scrapes. On Tuesday, the company took action against a company named Octopus and an individual named Ekrem Ateş. According to Meta, the former is the US subsidiary of a Chinese multinational technology company that provides data scraping-for-hire services to individuals and businesses.

Octopus also sells software that allows people to run their own data collection campaigns. According to Meta, this program first compromises the user’s Facebook and Instagram accounts by providing Octopus with its authentication information, before deleting all data accessible to that person’s accounts. The software can then retrieve phone numbers, dates of birth and other personal information about each Facebook and Instagram friend associated with a given Octopus customer. Meta alleges Octopus violated its Terms of Service and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by offering an automated scraping service and attempting to avoid detection by the company.

“Companies like Octopus are part of a burgeoning scraping industry that offers automation services to every customer – regardless of who they target and for what purpose they scrape,” Meta said. “This industry is making scraping available to individuals and companies who otherwise would not have the skills.”

As for Ekrem Ateş, the person Meta is suing, the company says that he used automated Instagram accounts to gather information about more than 350,000 Instagram users and later released that data in a series detailing the could view data of these persons without their consent. Since early 2021, Meta says it has taken several enforcement actions against Ateş, including sending a cease and desist letter and suspending his access to its services. This isn’t the first time Meta has taken legal action to try to stop data scraping. For example, in 2020, the company sued a Turkish national who had more than .

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