LinkedIn has filed a lawsuit against Mantheos, a Singapore-based data solutions provider, and its founders for "unauthorised scraping of millions of LinkedIn member profiles". LinkedIn said in a statement that Mantheos "fraudulently obtained" LinkedIn Sales Navigator subscriptions by using a network of hundreds of fake LinkedIn member accounts and virtual debit cards under fake names. The company then used the subscriptions to scrape member profile information that should only be available for viewing on LinkedIn in the logged-in environment by other real, logged-in LinkedIn members.
"In addition to filing this lawsuit, we have restricted the fake accounts, terminated Mantheos’ Sales Navigator subscriptions, and taken new measures to prevent this type of illegal abuse in the future. These actions are designed to protect the LinkedIn community and keep control of member data where it belongs: in the hands of our members," LinkedIn said.
A quick search by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE revealed that Mantheos' LinkedIn page, as well as co-founder and CEO Jeremiah Tang's profile, have been taken down. "We’re always working to advance our technical and legal enforcement efforts further, and we’ll continue to update you on progress and our work to keep members safe," LinkedIn said.
Separately, Alibaba fell victim to a eight-month web-scraping operation by a marketing consultant who collected sensitive user information, according to a Chinese court verdict. According to Bloomberg, a verdict released in June last year by a district court in China’s central Henan province showed that a marketing consultant began using a self developed web-crawling software on Taobao since November 2019, gathering information including user IDs, mobile phone numbers and customer comments.
Alibaba later noticed the data leaks from Taobao and informed the police afterwards. The consultant, responsible for helping merchants on Taobao, was guilty of dredging up more than a billion data items on Taobao to serve clients. The consultant and his employer were handed jail terms of more than three years, alongside fines totaling about US$70,260.
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