Meta Abandons Lawsuit Against Bright Data Over Scraping

In a surprise move, Meta Platforms quietly dropped its lawsuit against Israeli analytics company Bright Data, which scraped data posted by Facebook and Instagram users.

Meta also waived its right to appeal a decision against it by U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen in the Northern District of California. He ruled last month that Bright Data didn't violate Meta's terms of service by scraping publicly available data from Instagram and Facebook because Bright Data wasn't logged in when it gathered the data.

“Bright Data only engaged in logged-out scraping of public data ... and thus did not breach the terms either while it had accounts with Facebook and Instagram or after terminating its accounts,” Chen wrote in a 37-page order awarding Bright Data summary judgment on the claim that it broke its contract with Meta by violating the platform's terms of service.

That ruling was at odds with most other decisions regarding scraping, Colorado attorney Kieran McCarthy, who has represented companies in other battles over web scraping, told MediaPost last month.



Meta hasn't yet responded to MediaPost's request for comment.

The platform's move appears to end a court battle dating to January 2023, when Meta alleged in a federal complaint that Bright Data wrongfully used automated tools to gather data from Facebook and Instagram -- including “users’ profile information, followers, and posts that users have shared with others” -- and then selling that data.

Meta contended in court papers that Bright Data offered to sell an Instagram data set containing 615 million records for $860,000. That data set “includes at least 34 fields from Instagram users’ profiles, including full name, ID, country code, region, post count, biography, business category, hashtags, followers, following, posts, profile image, highlights, verification status, business email, and business addresses,” according to Meta.

The complaint included a claim that Bright Data -- which itself had accounts with Meta from April 2021 until December 2022 -- violated the platform's terms of service. 

Bright Data said it only gathered information that was publicly available on the web -- meaning posts Instagram and Facebook users made available to all web users, regardless of whether they had Meta accounts.

Meta is still pursuing a complaint against the U.K.-based company Voyager Labs, which provides analytics services to law enforcement.

Voyager recently asked U.S. District Court Judge Araceli Martinez-Olguin in San Francisco to dismiss that matter.

Martinez-Olguin is expected to hold a hearing in that case on April 4.

Next story loading loading..