Facebook files lawsuit in US Federal Court against companies promotion fake followers.
Why Has This Happened?
Recently, we published a blog announcing that an Instagram bug had caused many users to lose followers. In that blog we mentioned the possibility of a “purge” on fake followers where Instagram could be deactivating all inactive accounts to stop fake followers.
Well, now the “purge” has become a reality. Facebook (owners of social media giant Instagram) have filed a lawsuit against four known companies who have promoted fake followers on their websites and have provided followers to accounts in exchange for money.
Facebook attorneys have labelled the buying of followers as an infringement against “US intellectual property law” which of course makes this illegal. The lawsuit had such significance that each of the company’s websites were shut down within a matter of hours and the third-party suppliers now await prosecution.
What Does This Mean For Influencers?
As mentioned in the last blog, influencers have had a big impact on advertising on all social media platforms in the past years. But that could change very quickly. Late in 2018, Instagram and Facebook announced that they would begin deactivating accounts they suspected to be bots. This caused an uproar among many influencers as they suspected that their promotions/ads would not reach as many people. Therefore, they would lose a lot of money and would have to compete with accounts that had real followers.
However, now that Facebook has gone one step further and taken legal action, influencers could be in trouble. A lot of influencers have promoted ways to gain followers for example:
“Everyone go and follow this account to gain a lot more followers and likes!”
Now if influencers have done this, then Facebook attorneys will be able to find them easily due to their significant following and undoubtedly, they will have legal action taken against them which could result in another lawsuit and a permanent ban on the social media platforms. Again, resulting in a significant loss of money that they would usually gain from these promotions.
Could this be the end of Influencers? Let us know!
Is Advertising Going To Take a Hit?
Unfortunately, Instagram and Facebook promotions could be reduced a lot and may only be shown if they have been reviewed and accepted first. Although this might not be the worst thing, the only promotions users will see would be reliable advertisements that can benefit them. This will most likely change the format of Instagram too. Instead of using the hashtag #ad to release a promotion, a new algorithm may be released which would be similar to Facebook’s Ads Manager where promotions have to be set up and go through Instagram in order to be posted.
Would this algorithm work? Let us know!
Instagram third party promoters could be in a lot of trouble too. A lot of products promoted on Instagram by influencers are known to be scams, such as weight loss products and hair growth tablets. Users see their favourite celebrity is using these products and believe they will work. In reality, the celebrity has never used these products and are promoting fake products to their followers in order to make money. If a new Instagram algorithm is released then these third-party promoters will not be allowed to showcase their fake products anymore, but that could be the least of their problems.
Now that Facebook has decided to take legal action against third party companies who are violating intellectual property by promoting fake followers, Facebook attorneys could also find a way to take legal action against the fake product suppliers. If the companies are found to be promoting scams, then they will be in violation of a number of laws including false advertising and Trademark Infringement due to the fact they are using their platform to deceive their users.
Is another big lawsuit on its way? Let us know!
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