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Facebook Takes Legal Action Against Data Scrapers

Facebook on Thursday announced that it took legal action against two individuals for scraping data from its website.

Facebook on Thursday announced that it took legal action against two individuals for scraping data from its website.

In a lawsuit filed in Portugal, Facebook Inc. and Facebook Ireland seek permanent injunction against the two for violation of the social media platform’s terms of service and Portugal’s Database Protection Law.

The social media giant says that the two created browser extensions that they made available for download through the Chrome Web Store. The extensions were being offered using the business name “Oink and Stuff.”

A privacy policy that accompanied these extensions claimed that no collection of personal information would be performed.

This, Facebook says, was misleading, as four of the extensions were found to contain spyware code, namely Web for Instagram plus DM, Blue Messenger, Emoji keyboard, and Green Messenger.

The code was meant to scrape users’ information from the Facebook website, but could also harvest additional data from the users’ browsers unrelated to the social platform, all without notifying the victims on the matter, the company reveals.

Data harvested from the Facebook website includes name, user ID, gender, relationship status, and age group, along with other account information.

In addition to seeking a permanent injunction against the two individuals, the social media platform is demanding that they delete all of the Facebook data they harvested.

“This case is the result of our ongoing international efforts to detect and enforce against those who scrape Facebook users’ data, including those who use browser extensions to compromise people’s browsers,” Facebook concludes.

Facebook previously took legal action against entities in the U.S., Israel and Ukraine over data scraping.

Related: Facebook Sues 12 Fraudulent Domain Names

Related: Facebook Sues Namecheap Over Fraudulent Domains

Related: Facebook Sues Analytics Firm for Data Misuse

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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