Facebook is taking legal action against a cluster of Chinese websites that sell fake accounts, likes and followers both on Facebook itself and on Instagram. The company announced the legal action in a shortblog post late Friday afternoon (a move unusual enough to pique our curiosity a little). Of course, the fact that Facebook isn’t allowed in China might be a complexifier, in Bezos-speak.
The lawsuit, filed with the Northern District of California, alleges that starting in 2017 four Chinese companies and three individuals based in China “operated a series of websites promoting the sale of fake accounts (e.g. using fake names or other false identifiers) and inauthentic accounts (e.g. used for inauthentic activity),” infringing on Facebook and Instagram’s trademarks and terms of service in the process.
The lawsuit names Xiu Network Science and Technology Company, Xiu Feishu Science and Technology Company, Xiufei Book Technology Co., Home Network (Fujian) Technology Co., Ltd. and three people affiliated with those operations. TechCrunch reached out to Facebook for clarification about the scope of the fraudulent activity and the reason behind its decision to escalate these concerns, though didn’t receive much clarification.