Facebook Files Lawsuit to Charge Chinese Companies For Making and Selling Fake Social Media Accounts

On Friday, Facebook announced that it will pursue legal action against at least three people—and four companies—based in China over their promoting the sale of fake accounts, fake likes, and fake followers on big social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram.  Filed in US federal court, the lawsuit alleges these individuals and companies targeted several outlets. The three companies—9 Xiu Shenzhen, 9 Xiu Feishu, 9 Xiufei, and Home Network (based in Longyan and Shenzhen) are all named as defendants, too. 

Facebook and Instagram allege, “Fake and inauthentic accounts can be used for spam and phishing campaigns, misinformation campaigns, marketing scams, advertising fraud, and other fraud schemes which are profitable at scale.”

Also, the pair of social media staples say that fake accounts have also appeared among services like Apple, Google, Twitter, Amazon, and LinkedIn. 

In a blog post, Facebook goes on to say, “Inauthentic activity has no place on our platform.  That’s why we devote significant resources to detecting and stopping this behavior, including disabling millions of fake accounts every day.”

It should not surprise you to hear that the social networking giant has been working hard to crack down on fake accounts, especially over the past few years.  Intense public scrutiny over these accounts have gone into high-gear largely on the suspicion of Russian intelligence operatives using false accounts on various social media platforms to publish misrepresentative reports as a means to influence the 2016 US presidential election. 

Hence, in November, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, in an interview, the company has made “huge investments” to improve efforts aimed at taking down these fake accounts.  This, of course, came after a statement made by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, earlier in the year, to bump up these efforts and broaden their view of Facebook’s responsibility to provide authentic information to its 2.7 billion monthly users. 

Overall, artificial intelligence helped Facebook and Instagram to detect fake accounts between January and September of 2018. This led to the disabling of 2.1 billion inauthentic accounts, “often within minutes of the accounts’ creation,” according to the legal complaint filed this week. And this might be only the beginning of the multiple violations of US trademark law that Facebook alleges in the suit.