Facebook has filed a lawsuit against Ensar Sahinturk, a Turkish software developer who created several Instagram clone sites. According to Facebook, Sahinturk has scraped a total of over 100,000 Instagram accounts to establish his network of copycats.
The Attack of the Instagram Clones
In a post on the About Facebook blog, Facebook announced a lawsuit against Sahinturk for creating a network of Instagram clone sites and scraping account information.
Sahinturk managed to scrape profiles, pictures, and videos from thousands of different Instagram accounts. He then transferred that data to his clone sites, “where anyone could enter an Instagram username to view Instagram user profiles, pictures, videos, stories, hashtags, and locations.”
Not only does this violate users’ privacy, but it also puts sensitive information at risk. This is especially dangerous, as “people lose visibility and control of who is viewing their content and interacting with their account.”
In response to the clone sites, Facebook first disabled Sahinturk’s Instagram and Facebook accounts. It later decided to file a lawsuit “to obtain a permanent injunction against Sahinturk.”
Keeping Online Data Secure
Fortunately, Facebook is taking action against this network of clone sites. But on the downside, this definitely won’t be the last time someone decides to produce a clone site of Facebook, Instagram, or another social media site. The risk might be enough to encourage some users to delete their social media accounts altogether.