Facebook removes two Russian accounts for scrapping data, violating policies

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Fubutech and SocialDataHub accounts on Facebook scrapped data from the platform violating policies, said social networking giant on Thursday adding that other accounts associated to these have been removed too.

Facebook revealed it quietly removed 66 accounts, pages and apps linked to the two Russian companies, which had built facial recognition software for their government.

According to The New York Times the Mark Zukerberg-led social company said in a cease-and-desist letter to SocialDataHub, “Facebook has reason to believe your work for the government has included matching photos from individuals’ personal social media accounts in order to identify them.”

The letter was dated October 9, Tuesday, and until Friday both the companies have deadline to explain what data has been taken and thereafter delete all those.

It is learned both the companies have been around for about past four years and heavily relied on data of Facebook in building facial recognition software. Investigating further the social giant found several other companies too have been exploiting the platform for questionable ends.

Facebook added that Fubutech and SocialDataHub collected data through web scraping, which is a rudimentary technique to pull data off a website and it is difficult to detect as well as prevent such action.

Meanwhile, SocialDataHub CEO confirmed accounts of both the companies have been deleted, but allege it has been unfairly done.

Artur Khachuyan added they build facial-recognition product for Russian government and scrapes Google search results and not what Facebook is alleging.

However, the removing of accounts is not the solution. Facebook is facing greater challenge and lately reviewing its data sharing policy with apps. About 200 apps are being suspended.

Khachuyan said the letter from Facebook has surprised them as they have been operating for years in same way.

He added, “All in Russia know about us for minimum four years… I don’t know why that Facebook sent that only now… “Maybe it’s a reason to deactivate our accounts… But I don’t know why Facebook deletes Instagram account of my dog.”

The Instagram account of his dog is “Mars the Blue Corgi” and has just 176 followers.

Rejecting claim of Khachuyan a Facebook spokeswoman said “We don’t take these actions lightly… The fact we took the action and sent the letter means we saw enough evidence.”

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