Facebook and Instagram Sue Company That Made Millions Selling Fake Followers and Likes

Facebook and Instagram Sue Company That Made Millions Selling Fake Followers and Likes

In a Facebook Newsroom post, the company announced that both Facebook and Instagram have filed a lawsuit against a company and related individuals for selling "fake engagement services to Instagram users." The lawsuit is an escalation in the ongoing battle against fake followers and likes.

It's no secret that fake followers and likes abound on Instagram, with many influencers, photographers, and others often buying them to make their accounts look more impressive. However, in the last year or so, Instagram has begun to crack down on these more, with the lawsuit filed again LikeSocial (and related sitesand companies run by the defendants) being the latest step. According to the lawsuit, the defendants made over $9 million from the fake services. Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation, wrote:

By filing the lawsuit, we are sending a message that this kind of fraudulent activity is not tolerated on our services, and we will act to protect the integrity of our platform.

Fake likes and followers are a definite issue and can be quite a nuisance for legitimate users of the platform; hopefully, the lawsuit will send a strong message that will help curb future issues. 

Lead image via Pixabay.

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Jeff McCollough's picture

How can we report users with a large amount of fake followers? I just recently discovered a few local photographers with like 80% fake followers lol.

Snitches get stitches, bruh.

Jeff McCollough's picture

Oh my!! What are they gonna do to me? Unfollow me? hahahah

Motti Bembaron's picture

Not a strong case, unless the court decides to be a 'social warrior'. No one is hurt and the people who buy those fake likes do it knowingly. People were deceived, so? 90 percent of those so-called 'social' platform are deceiving. But then again, FB and IG make money of those. The fake likes did not generate them any income. What a crime.

Ale Vidal's picture

If a company sells likes/followers, it is using an immense amount of bots. And I guess this is damaging some servers.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Maybe. Correct me if I am wrong but, as far as I understand, bots are used by many (many) server based companies -other than the big ones like Google and Amazon- to mine information. Putting huge strain on servers belonging to Google, Amazon MS etc.

I still think it's partly about missing income but mostly damaged reputation. Their platforms are seen as fickle and unreliable (surprise, surprise) but let's face it, it is their doing.

Their sole attraction is this 'like' system. If they were a platform for ideas and photos without the feedback of likes they would not have been so popular. Most people opt to just click like rather then place a comment so it's an instant gratification for both sides.

Without the 'like' system they would have seen huge drop in attendance both from posters and viewers.

People try to fight the dishonest and bias algorithm that benefits ONLY FB and IG in hopes to have some benefits for themselves. If FB was honest about their algorithm and truly made it to help people gain popularity I suspect those companies (that sell likes) would not have been so successful.

I hardly go to either of those platform (about 2 minutes a week) and all I see is sponsored garbage. Make it more about the users and things might be different.

Gion-Andri Derungs's picture

Bots don't damage servers. In the worst case the cause a DOS on the server. But I'm pretty sure, the companies will avoid that, because they will get "in the line of fire" immediately. FB and Insta should temporarily ban users for buying followers, if that is against their policies. If there are no buyers, there are no sellers....

@motti: You sound like you bought likes.

Motti Bembaron's picture

With a grand total of 170 followers? Hardly :-)

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

If they start doing that, they should next address the follow/unfollow guys and hide the amount of likes and followers, then those fake accounts will disappear like magic. But then how would you measure how cool someone is if you don’t see how many followers he has?

Chris Overholster's picture

Instagram is currently piloting in Canada suppressing the like count on all photos.

How can you run a successful platform if you don't give any incentives to users who invest in it? Strip them away of their followers and you will lose $$

Duane Klipping's picture

Instagram could end this by banning and removing accounts found to do this. Remove the cheaters and the sales will quit.

bill bynum's picture

I dont see how they could sue anyone, as that is basically their business model. Insta and Facebook brain fuck you into thinking likes matter, then make millions off of our dumb asses because we spend a bunch of time on the site trying to get more interaction on your page.... Well, interaction is basically likes, and all the time we spend on the site trying to get more of it you are making FB and Insta millions in Ad Rev.... So how the hell can they sue anyone?!?!? What an insane twilight zone world we live in these days.

Imagine if FB and Instagram hid the follower and/or 'likes' count. How would that change the landscape of social media? Would that cause people to follow content creators purely based on content alone rather than the numbers game?

Brian Jones's picture

Social medi.., validation is overrated. It is a fantasy world decided by followers and likes and me..me..me. This just proves that thesis and I am happy to have no part of it.


uhhh... If you think social engagement is worthless, then you're probably losing the competition. Well, that's assuming you're a business owner of some sort.

Brian Jones's picture

Uhhhh... Email marketing produces a much higher ROI than any social media post, share or like. Couple your email list with events and meetups, and it is much more rewarding than any social media platform...

Motti Bembaron's picture

Well, what do you know, IG is testing hiding public 'likes' on Canadian accounts as a test. The test will only be in Canada, a very small market of course.