Facebook has declared legal action against a software developer in Istanbul who is running various Instagram ‘viewer’ websites, for which he collects the data of users from Instagram, then publishes the content on these alternate platforms. The developer then generates revenue by running ads on these clone sites.
[Ensar] Sahinturk used automation software to scrape public profiles, photos and videos from more than 100,000 Instagram accounts without Instagram’s permission and in violation of our Terms. He then published this data on a network of clone sites, where anyone could enter an Instagram username to view Instagram user profiles, pictures, videos, stories, hashtags and locations.
Domains operated by Sahinturk included jolygram.com, imggram.com, imggram.net, finalgram.com, pikdo.net, and ingram.ws, according to court filings.
As seen in the above example, the platform is represented as an Instagram insights tool, offering data on the hashtag locations, usage, and more. The source of all this data for the insights is basically stolen from Instagram.
Data scraping undermines people’s privacy and ability to control their information, and is prohibited by our Terms. This case is the latest example of our actions to disrupt those who scrape user data as part of our ongoing commitment to protect our community, enforce our policies and hold people accountable for abusing our services.
Facebook has been taking legal actions over the violations and seems to lay down strict legal penalties for others looking for the same. There may well be other platforms conducting similar scraping processes that will look to re-think their practices as a result of Facebook taking action. But there is also a question over the legality of ‘scraping’ public data.