Facebook Launches New Legal Action Over the Sale of Counterfeit Goods on its Platforms

Facebook has launched new legal action, in conjunction with Gucci, over the sale of counterfeit goods on its platforms, which is an important step in its evolving eCommerce business.

As explained by Facebook:

Facebook, Inc. and Gucci America, Inc. sued an individual in the United States District Court, Northern District of California for breach of Facebook and Instagram’s Terms and infringement of Gucci’s intellectual property rights. Specifically, the defendant used multiple Facebook and Instagram accounts to evade Facebook’s enforcement efforts and continue to promote the sale of counterfeit Gucci products.” 

Facebook notes that its terms on both Facebook and Instagram strictly prohibit IP infringement, including the sale or promotion of counterfeit products.

“Consistent with these terms, Facebook and Instagram have implemented robust IP protection measures including a global notice-and-takedown program, a robust repeat infringement policy and additional measures.” 

This is the first time that Facebook has partnered on litigation, and is the latest in its expanded legal enforcement efforts to tackle in-app abuse and crime.

The lawsuit also reflects Facebook’s growing focus on eCommerce, and ensuring that it establishes clear parameters for doing business on its platforms. Along similar lines, Facebook also recently launched a new update to its Commerce & Ads IP Tool, which enables businesses to upload an image of their product/s for matching against Facebook and Instagram content, in order to detect counterfeit listings.

That provides more ways for brands to protect their IP on the platform, and this new joint legal action will ideally help Facebook establish clear legal precedent for punishment over similar platform misuse.

Given Facebook’s broader push to encourage more on-platform shopping, this is an important step, which will ideally provide more assurance to both businesses and buyers as to the legitimacy of the products being sold on the platform.

That will be especially valuable on Instagram, where the focus will largely be on fashion, but in all contexts, this legal action will help Facebook establish clearer legal parameters over what’s acceptable on the platform, and how it will enforce such moving forward.

You can read more about Facebook’s evolving legal enforcement efforts here.

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