News Brief

Facebook Sues Chinese Firms Over Fake Accounts

Facebook and Instagram are suing a number of Chinese companies and individuals over the sale and promotion of fake accounts in what the American company says amount to deceptive practices and trademark infringements.

Facebook named four Chinese companies in the lawsuit filed on Friday in U.S. federal court — 9 Xiu Shenzhen, 9 Xiu Feishu, 9 Xiufei and Home Network — accusing them of false marketing, promoting inauthentic accounts and selling goods via their deceptive websites.

The same Chinese companies have also been selling accounts for Amazon, Apple, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter, Facebook attorney Paul Grewal said.

Along with falsified marketing, the accused companies have been engaged in cybersquatting, the practice that the US Federal Law defines as “registering, using, or selling a domain name with a bad faith intent to profit from someone else’s trademark,” according to Facebook.

According to the complaint, these companies offer a variety of hardware and software services including bundles of fake accounts for Facebook and Instagram as well as other platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google Voice.

Fake accounts are a perennial problem for Facebook, according to The Verge. The complaint says Facebook and Instagram disabled 2.1 billion fake accounts between January and September 2018.

Facebook’s lawyers say the court case is part of a multifaceted crackdown on fake accounts and their misuse and they are asking the court to end the malicious practices online that the identified companies and individuals conduct.

Amid scrutiny Facebook has faced over its use of private data and being dubbed as great tool for amplifying and spreading Fake News, Facebook has stepped up his tackling of malign online activities over the past couple of years – including the efforts to spot and suspend fake accounts and teaming up with fact-checkers.