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Facebook Launches Legal Action Against Instagram Clone Sites



Facebook has launched legal action against a software developer in Istanbul who’s been running a range of Instagram ‘viewer’ sites, for which he essentially scrapes user data from Instagram, then republishes the content on these alternate platforms. The developer then generates income by running ads on these clone sites.

It seems like a pretty open and shut case of copyright violation – as explained by Facebook:

“[Ensar] Sahinturk used automation software to scrape public profiles, photos and videos from more than 100,000 Instagram accounts without Instagram’s permission and in violation of our Terms. He then published this data on a network of clone sites, where anyone could enter an Instagram username to view Instagram user profiles, pictures, videos, stories, hashtags and locations.”

As reported by ZDNet, Sahinturk ran a range of Instagram ‘viewer’ platforms:

“Domains operated by Sahinturk included,,,,, and, according to court filings.”

Instagram clone site

In the example above, as you can see, the platform is presented as an Instagram insights tool, providing data on hashtag usage, locations and more. But the data used to fuel those insights is essentially stolen from Instagram, and users therefore see no protection as to how their information and content is used.

“Data scraping undermines people’s privacy and ability to control their information, and is prohibited by our Terms. This case is the latest example of our actions to disrupt those who scrape user data as part of our ongoing commitment to protect our community, enforce our policies and hold people accountable for abusing our services.”

Indeed, Facebook has been taking legal action over a wider range of term violations over the last year as it seeks to implement tougher legal penalties and disincentives for others considering the same. 

Again, this seems like a fairly straightforward case, and there may well be other platforms conducting similar scraping processes that will look to re-think their practices as a result of Facebook taking action.


But there is also a question over the legality of ‘scraping’ public data.

LinkedIn has been involved in a long-running court case against a company called HiQ Labs over HiQ’s use of LinkedIn user data for its talent scouting tools. LinkedIn initially sought to block HiQ from using its data, but HiQ was successful in blocking LinkedIn’s challenge, arguing that it’s only accessing publicly available data. LinkedIn is still pushing to cut off HiQ’s access.

That case could be used as precedent here, with Sahinturk arguing along similar lines, but the potential violation of Instagram user rights is a more definitive concern which seems likely to hold more weight in Facebook’s challenge.



Brand creatives: The forgotten workers struggling with burnout



Brand creatives: The forgotten workers struggling with burnout

Photo by Tim Gouw / Unsplash

The demand for quality content continues to rise and this is putting an added stress on creators. Analysts are predicting this year to be the longest selling season seen for many years. This presents little reprieve for creators.

While businesses everywhere are focused on work/life balance, that’s a luxury most creators do not have. Recently, Digital Journal posted an article about ‘hustle culture’ and the dangers this presents to employees in the long-term. Central to these concerns was burnout. Yet burnout is also an issue for the sell-employed and within this category, those working in the creative arts standout.

Social Media Creatives are people who carve out creative posts which are intended to be shared by a brand on their social media platforms, designed to help the brand to reach out more fully to their target audience.

Creator burnout encroaches on creator wellness, which is not only a threat to the creator, but also to brands and ultimately the consumer.

The extent of the problem is captured by Awin, an affiliate and influencer marketing platform. The company conducted a survey on creator burnout and this uncovered some telling information.

For example, 66 percent of creators indicated that burnout is affecting their mental health . The likelihood of this is related to the platform used. Here, Instagram is the leading platform driving burnout with 71 percent of respondents experiencing at least some level of burnout.

Another source of emotional strain is with constant platform changes. These were cited by the survey respondents as the leading cause of anxiety amongst 72 percent of respondents. Another area scoring high, with  64 percent of people, relates to a lack of quality and creativity. In turn this creates pressures, for 53 percent of the survey admitted their passion for content creation has decreased in the past year.


Pressure of work are manifest in the need to be only for prolonged periods of time. Hence other reasons for burnout included never turning off social media, the pressure of losing followers, and the pressure of earning a paycheck. These pressures are driving just under half (49 percent) of people to rely on alternative income streams to alleviate the stress and anxiety.

Although there are no ideal coping mechanisms, measures like dedicating specific times for posting and scheduling time off can help.

Commenting on the findings, Carissa Finders, Influencer Partnerships Manager, Awin Group tells Digital Journal: “There is a clear pattern of burnout among creators and many feel there is little support from social platforms to help them cope.”

This support, says Finders, should be led by brands, noting: “In order to combat the anxiety and burnout, brands will need to work closely with creators to develop the best resources for them to passionately create and engage their audiences. Our goal in working with our creators is to facilitate these brand partnerships to make sure the creation and execution of influencer campaigns continues to be as smooth as possible for both parties.”

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