Facebook Inc and its Instagram unit have slapped law suits on four companies and three people based in China for promoting the sale of fake accounts, likes and followers that the social network giant says can be used for nefarious purposes.
The Chinese companies advertised and created the fake accounts over the last two years and marketed them for sale on six websites, selling them in bulk quantities, according to a complaint filed Friday in San Francisco federal court.
“Fake and in-authentic 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.
Facebook said fake accounts were also created on Amazon, Apple, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Friday’s lawsuit, which alleges multiple violations of US trademark law, is one way the company is fighting back against commercial exploitation of its social networks.