In this file photo taken on 16 May 2018 a figurine carrying the logo of social network Facebook is viewed in Paris. Facebook said 20 November 2018 users were having trouble accessing the social network and its other applications such as Instagram, but did not explain the cause of the outages. Photo: AFP
In this file photo taken on 16 May 2018 a figurine carrying the logo of social network Facebook is viewed in Paris. Facebook said 20 November 2018 users were having trouble accessing the social network and its other applications such as Instagram, but did not explain the cause of the outages. Photo: AFP

Facebook has sued two developers in Portugal for scraping user-profiles and other data from its website.

Using the business name “Oink and Stuff,” the defendants developed browser extensions and made them available on the Chrome store.

“They misled users into installing the extensions with a privacy policy that claimed they did not collect any personal information,” said Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation at Facebook.

Four of their extensions—Web for Instagram plus DM, Blue Messenger, Emoji keyboard and Green Messenger—were malicious and contained hidden computer code that functioned like spyware.

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When people installed these extensions on their browsers, they were installing concealed code designed to scrape their information from the Facebook website, but also information from the users’ browsers unrelated to Facebook—all without their knowledge.

“If the user visited the Facebook website, the browser extensions were programmed to scrape their name, user ID, gender, relationship status, age group and other information related to their account,” Romero said in a statement on Thursday.

The defendants did not compromise Facebook’s security systems. Instead, they used the extensions on the users’ devices to collect information.

“We are seeking a permanent injunction against defendants and demanding that they delete all Facebook data in their possession,” she mentioned.

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