The rise of fake likes & followers on social media have been a known growing issue, especially on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. To Instagram this is considered like cheating and as buying fake followers and activity has become such a huge business it has forced Instagram to take a stand. They have decided to quash this type of deceitful activity by filing a lawsuit against a company that made a business of selling likes, views and followers.
Facebook announced at the end of April, in a release titled “Preventing Inauthentic Behavior on Instagram” that they have filed a lawsuit in US federal court against a company and three people based in New Zealand. According to Facebook this lawsuit is one more step in their “ongoing efforts to protect people and prevent inauthentic behavior on Facebook and Instagram.” In this complaint, Facebook’s Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation writes that the company and individuals used different companies and websites to sell fake engagement services to Instagram Users. These account had supposedly previously been suspended and been formally warned yet continued their activities.
By filing this lawsuit, Facebook & Instagram want to send a message that this kind of fraudulent activity will not be tolerated on their platforms and any longer. Additionally to also showing that they will act to protect the integrity of the platform. Facebook says that “Inauthentic activity has no place on our platform, and that’s why we devote significant resources to detecting and stopping this behavior, including blocking the creating and use of fake accounts, and using machine learning technology to proactively find and remove inauthentic activity from Instagram.”
The New Zealand based company called “Social Media Series Limits” used a variety of websites and services to sell this fake activity. Customers paid between $10 and $99 per week to generate fake activity to their accounts, sometimes receiving hundreds of phony likes within seconds. This meant that within a year, the owners had pocketed about $9 Million dollars from the scheme according to the lawsuit.