Facebook files lawsuit against companies selling 'likes' and fake followers

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Last year Facebook said it had removed 1.3 billion fake accounts in just six months. Photo credit: Getty

Facebook said on Friday that it filed a lawsuit along with Instagram in US federal court against four companies and three people based in China for promoting the sale of fake accounts, likes and followers.

In a blog post, the company said the accused people and companies promoted the sales on both Facebook and Instagram as well as other online service providers including Amazon, Apple, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter.

"We hope to reinforce that this kind of fraudulent activity is not tolerated - and that we'll act forcefully to protect the integrity of our platform," said Facebook lawyer Paul Grewal.

"Inauthentic activity has no place on our platform. That's why we devote significant resources to detecting and stopping this behaviour, including disabling millions of fake accounts every day. Today's lawsuit is one more step in our ongoing efforts to protect people on Facebook and Instagram."

Last year Facebook said it had removed 1.3 billion fake accounts in just six months, many created "with the intent of spreading spam or conducting illicit activities such as scams". It's estimated up to 4 percent of all Facebook's monthly active users aren't real.

In January, New Zealand's Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment admitted making fake profiles so it can investigate people.

The companies and individuals targeted in the latest lawsuit also sold fake likes and followers on other platforms, including LinkedIn, Google and Twitter, Mr Grewal said.

Reuters / Newshub.