What happened: Facebook is seeking $100,000 in damages from each of six websites operated by Xiu Network Science and Technology Company, Xiu Feishu Science and Technology Company, Xiufei Book Technology Co., and Home Network Technology Co., Ltd. for creating and selling fake Instagram and Facebook accounts. According to Facebook’s complaint, the companies are also involved in online advertising and electronics manufacturing. Fake accounts are often purchased by users to artificially inflate their followers and likes in order to attract attention from real people.
Why it’s important: Stemming the proliferation of fake accounts has been an uphill battle for social media platforms, with Facebook and Instagram deleting over 2.1 billion of them between January and September 2018 and Twitter reportedly locking 10 million per week since May. Often, these accounts are created with information stolen from a real user. The New York State Attorney General recently brought charges against Colorado-based Devumi for selling fake followers to a variety of people including former representative Paul Ryan and an editor at Xinhua News Agency.