Analytics Business Voyager Asks Judge To Toss Meta's Suit Over Data Scraping

The U.K.-based company Voyager Labs, which provides analytics services to law enforcement, is urging a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Meta Platforms, which accused Voyager of scraping data posted by the social networking service's users.

In papers filed Friday with U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam in Oakland, California, Voyager Labs argues that Meta should not be able to proceed because the allegations in its complaint lack key details.

Meta sued Voyager Labs in January, alleging that the company -- through its agents and employees -- created 38,000 Facebook accounts, then used those accounts to scrape data from more than 600,000 Facebook users.

Meta contends that Voyager breached its contract with Meta by allegedly violating the social networking platform's terms of service, which prohibit scraping. Meta is seeking a court order requiring Voyager to refrain from scraping, and monetary damages.



Voyager counters in its new papers that Meta's complaint doesn't include details about when Voyager allegedly accepted Meta's terms of service, or what specific terms of service were allegedly violated.

Voyager also says Meta's complaint conflates Voyager Labs (also called Voyager UK) with its subsidiaries -- Voyager Analytics (based in Delaware), Novarize (based in Delaware) and Bionic 8 Analytics Inc. (based in Israel).

“Meta's theory of contract formation appears to be: there are billions of users of Meta's Facebook and Instagram websites, and Voyager UK allegedly was one of them; therefore, some contract must have been formed between Meta and Voyager UK,” the company argues. “But the complaint does not allege how Voyager UK manifested assent to any such a contract.”

Voyager adds that the complaint doesn't adequately inform the company about the “essential terms” of the contracts, whether those terms have changed over time, and how long those contracts were expected to last.

Meta sued Voyager shortly after U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Spero in San Francisco sided with Meta in a similar battle with analytics company BrandTotal.

Spero ruled that BrandTotal violated Meta's terms of service by using automated means to collect information about consumers.

BrandTotal settled that dispute last September by agreeing to refrain from scraping consumer data, and from using (or selling) data previously collected through automated means. The company also promised to destroy information it previously collected.

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