Facebook and its Instagram unit have filed a lawsuit against four Chinese companies and three people based in China for promoting the sale of fake accounts, likes, and followers.
In a blog post, the company said the Chinese companies created and promoted fake accounts over the last two years and marketed them for sale on six websites, according to a lawsuit filed on Friday in a San Francisco federal court.
“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,” Facebook and Instagram alleged.
In its announcement, Facebook said that fake accounts were created for other online service providers including, Amazon, Linkedin, Twitter, Google, and Apple.
Facebook is facing a lot of questions over its policies, most of which involve the handling of user data. Most recently, the UK government said that it laying out plans to impose fines on social media companies that fail to remove content that’s considered to be “harmful” to viewers.
Facebook said that by filing the lawsuit, it is hoping to fight back against any fraudulent activity. To address this issue, Facebook said in its complaint that it used artificial intelligence to deactivate 2.1bn inauthentic accounts from January 2018 through to September.
The companies named as defendants – 9 Xiu Shenzhen, 9 Xiu Feishu, 9 Xiufei, and Home Network – are based in Longyan and Shenzhen. They are electronic and hardware manufacturers, as well as software and online advertising providers.
Stop fraudulent activity
Facebook concluded its statement by saying “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. Today’s lawsuit is one more step in our ongoing efforts to protect people on Facebook and Instagram.”