Facebook has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. against two companies that had engaged in an international “data scraping” operation. The operation extended across Facebook properties, including both Facebook and Instagram, as well as other large websites and services, including Twitter, Amazon, LinkedIn and YouTube.
The companies, which gathered the data of Facebook users for “marketing intelligence” purposes, did so in violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service, says Facebook.The businesses named in the lawsuit are Israeli-based BrandTotal Ltd. and Unimania Inc., a business incorporated in Delaware.
According to BrandTotal’s website, its company offers a real-time competitive intelligence platform that’s designed to give media, insights and analytics teams visibility into their competition’s social media strategy and paid campaigns. These insights would allow its customers to analyze and shift their budget allocation to target new opportunities, monitor trends and threats from emerging brands, optimize their ads and messaging and more.
Meanwhile, Unimania operated apps claimed to offer users the ability to access social networks in different ways. For example, Unimania offered apps that let you view Facebook via a mobile-web interface or alongside other social networks like Twitter. Another app let you view Instagram Stories anonymously, it claimed.
However, Facebook’s lawsuit is largely focused on two browser extensions offered by the companies: Unimania’s “Ads Feed” and BrandTotal’s “UpVoice.”