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As explained by Meta: Meta has launched two new legal actions against data scraping sites, which have extracted user data from both Instagram and Facebook for unauthorized use, while it’s also seen a new victory in its battle against platform misuse, with a court ruling in its favor in another case related to cloning sites.

This information shared by users is something a user never intended to get used in this way. Meta’s examining ways to establish more evident legal standing on this type of misuse.

Meta says that Octopus: Scraping For Hire system can extract data about people’s Facebook Friends such as email address, phone number, gender, and date of birth, as well as Instagram followers and engagement information, such as name, user profile URL, location, and the number of likes and comments per post.

Mystalk: Targeting Clone Sites have also filed an action against a Turkish-based individual, Defendant Ekrem Ateş, for using automated Instagram accounts to scrape data from the profiles of over 350,000 Instagram users. 

Source: Dezeen

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The legal technicalities of online data scraping are not so definitive, with LinkedIn currently engaged in a years-long battle over a similar data-scraping case, in which users’ publicly available LinkedIn info is being used to power an external employee database and recruitment site.

This case will no doubt also be used in the defense against Meta’s latest legal actions – but as Meta outlines, Meta has gradually locked down Facebook and Instagram data more and more over the years, giving the company more definitive legal grounding in any such misuse.

Either way, the misuse of user data is clearly a violation of privacy, as it’s taking people’s personal info without consent. One way or another, it seems that the laws around such need to be updated – and maybe, these new cases from Meta can advance the argument in this respect.

Which is another way to evolve the laws around such, embedding rulings by proxy, which will help to address such clear legal violations in the future. Which will see more of this type of activity outlawed and penalized, and will ultimately disincentive fraud in the space.