Meta Wants Injunction in Data Scraping Suit Against BrandTotal

Meta Platforms Inc. moved for a permanent injunction against defendant BrandTotal Ltd., an Israeli corporation and its American subsidiary Unimania Inc. (together, BrandTotal) on Wednesday, arguing that BrandTotal is still illegally scraping data from its Facebook and Instagram platforms despite rulings deeming its conduct illegal.

Meta filed suit against BrandTotal, an advertising consulting company that offers advertising analytics to corporate customers, in 2020. As previously reported, the plaintiff argued that since 2017, BrandTotal has developed and distributed at least 13 browser extensions and mobile applications that scraped data from Facebook and Instagram in violation of their terms of use. Knowing its conduct was illegal, the company allegedly tried to avoid detection by using fake accounts and technical strategies, the lawsuit claims.

In May, the court ruled in favor of Meta on critical issues in the case. The court said BrandTotal was bound by and violated Meta’s terms and conditions, therefore breaching its contract.

It further ruled that BrandTotal violated California and federal computer hacking statutes and California’s Unfair Competition Law when BrandTotal “scraped password-protected data from Meta’s platforms using its legacy apps and extensions and Server-Side Collection method.” Lastly, the San Francisco, Calif. court granted Meta’s motion for summary judgment as to all of BrandTotal’s counterclaims. 

Since then, Meta says it and BrandTotal have attempted to negotiate the terms of an injunction but have yet to reach an accord. As such, and given BrandTotal’s “historic conduct, and the risk that BrandTotal might attempt to transfer or sell its data and scraping technology to others,” Meta filed the instant motion for a four-fold permanent injunction to halt future violations.

In particular, Meta seeks to stop BrandTotal from accessing Facebook or Instagram, selling or distributing code used to scrape data, selling or distributing the data it already has, and requiring BrandTotal to delete the code it has used to scrape data from Meta’s platforms.

Meta argues that BrandTotal’s illegal scraping behavior has continued despite adverse rulings in the case, demonstrating its “willingness to continually violate the law.” Further, it says that monetary damages are insufficient because Meta will continue to suffer violations of the law and will have to spend further resources policing BrandTotal. 

In a separate motion filed the same day, Meta moved for an award of attorneys’ fees.

Facebook is represented by Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP and BrandTotal by  Husch Blackwell and Kronenberger Rosenfeld.