Facebook sues developer for selling fake Instagram likes

The sites allowed users to sign up in order to purchase followers, likes, comments, and views

Adam Smith
Friday 28 August 2020 17:30 BST
The girls were in a dispute with the suspect on social media before being stabbed
The girls were in a dispute with the suspect on social media before being stabbed (Getty)

Facebook is suing multiple developers in the UK and US for violating its policies by selling fake likes on Instagram.

The developer, Nikolay Holper, operated a “fake engagement service” known as Nakrutka, Facebook alleged in a statement.

“He used different websites to sell fake engagement services to Instagram users. We previously disabled accounts associated with Holper and his service, formally warned him that he was in violation of our Terms, and sent a cease and desist letter,” the company added.

Court documents apparently seen by Petapixel state that Holper operated under various websites including “Instagram.by” and “Nakrutka.cc.”

These sites allowed users to sign up in order to purchase followers, likes, comments, and views.

The Nakrutka website apparently encouraged users to “Cheat Instagram”.

According to the report, pricing varied, but the maximum payment was 1,700 rubles (approximately £17) per transaction.

Facebook shared specific examples of what Holper’s service offered; it referenced a brand new user who received 10,000 likes “within minutes” of posting a photo of a goat to an Instagram account with no followers.

“At least five other Instagram users purchased likes from Defendant on the same website and posted the same photo of a goat on their respective Instagram accounts,” continues Facebook.

“Although these accounts had no followers and the photos had no comments, the photos received between ~3,000 and ~10,000 likes within minutes.”

Facebook is seeking a permanent injunction from interacting with Facebook and Instagram, as well as compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages, damages for trademark infringement, and $100,000 in statutory damages per infringing domain name.

Facebook and Facebook Ireland also announced that, in a separate lawsuit, it is suing MobiBurn, OakSmart Technologies and its founder Fatih Haltas in the High Court of Justice for “failing to fully comply with our audit request” after it “collected user data from Facebook and other social media companies by paying app developers to install a malicious Software Development Kit”.

The developer apparently “collected information from the devices and requested data from Facebook, including the person’s name, time zone, email address and gender,” when users installed apps with MobiBurn’s software.

The social media company says this is the first time it is pursuing a lawsuit against an app developer in the UK, as well seeking an audit and an injunction to reinforce our ban against the developer’s use of its platform.

The lawsuits are looking to get Facebook an injunction, which would allow it to audit the company’s systems, see the data it accessed, payments it made to developers, and payments received.

The Independent has reached out to Mobiburn, OakSmart Technologies, Fatih Haltas, and Nakrutka for comment.

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