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  • Updated: February 26, 2024

Meta drops lawsuit against Bright Data after losing key claim

Meta drops lawsuit against Bright Data after losing key clai

Meta has withdrawn its lawsuit against Bright Data following a recent court ruling favoring the web-scraping company.

The court found insufficient evidence to support Meta's claims of data scraping beyond public data.

This marks a setback for Meta, which has a history of legal battles against data-scraping firms.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Northern California, centered on Meta's allegations that Bright Data had unlawfully scraped non-public data from its platforms.

However, the court ruled in favor of Bright Data on a breach of contract claim, stating that Meta failed to present convincing evidence of data scraping beyond publicly available information.

The case shed light on the growing debate surrounding the collection and use of user data by third-party firms like Bright Data.

Meta had presented examples of Bright Data's web-scraping activities, including a dataset containing Instagram data, but the court deemed the evidence insufficient to prove illegal scraping of logged-in user accounts.

Furthermore, the court rejected Meta's argument that automated tools used by Bright Data to bypass access restrictions constituted accessing a "password-protected website."

Despite Meta's claims, the court found no evidence that Bright Data had used its own Facebook and Instagram accounts for scraping, thus absolving it of accountability under Meta's terms of service.

Meta's decision to drop the lawsuit signals a rare defeat for the tech giant in its ongoing efforts to combat data scraping. While Meta has previously prevailed in similar legal battles, this outcome underscores the challenges it faces in enforcing its policies against web scrapers.

Bright Data celebrated the dismissal of the lawsuit, asserting its right to access public web data freely. The company's CEO, Or Lenchner, emphasized the importance of upholding public access to internet data, stating that no single entity should claim ownership over it.

The lawsuit, case No. 3:23-cv-00077-EMC, highlights the complexities and controversies surrounding data scraping in the digital age. Despite the dismissal of the lawsuit, the broader debate over data privacy and access rights is likely to continue.

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