Federal Judge Dismisses Meta’s Breach-of-Contract Claim Against Data-Scraping Company, Bright Data

San Francisco, California – Meta’s breach-of-contract claim against data-scraping company Bright Data has been dismissed by a federal judge, stating that Bright Data obtained only public data from Facebook and Instagram. In January 2023, Meta filed a lawsuit against Bright Data, accusing them of breach of contract and tortious interference with contract. Bright Data, an Israeli company that collects data from various websites, argued that their scraping of publicly available data did not violate Meta’s, Facebook’s, or Instagram’s terms.

US District Judge Edward Chen, in a ruling issued on Tuesday, stated that the evidence showed Bright Data engaged in logged-out scraping of public data unrelated to its accounts with Meta, therefore not breaching any terms. Meta alleged that Bright Data violated Facebook and Instagram policies by scraping data such as users’ profile information, followers, and shared posts. However, Judge Chen granted Bright Data’s motion for summary judgment on the breach-of-contract claim and rejected Meta’s cross-motion for partial summary judgment.

Although the breach-of-contract claim has been dismissed, the tortious interference with contract claim against Bright Data remains. Meta’s claim alleges that Bright Data induced Facebook and Instagram users to breach the terms by advertising its scraping services to logged-in users. Chen has scheduled a status conference for March 5 to discuss the remaining claim.

Bright Data offers a range of products, including a proxy network service for anonymous browsing, a “Web Unlocker” tool to prevent website operators from blocking access to public information, and a Web Scraper Integrated Development Environment for automated searches. Meanwhile, Meta implements measures such as rate and data limits, CAPTCHAs, and automated scraping detection to combat scraping activities.

This ruling may have implications for X Corp., the company founded by Elon Musk, as it has also been involved in lawsuits related to scraping. X Corp. sued the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) over scraping allegations, and the CCDH’s motion to dismiss is pending in federal court. Additionally, X Corp. previously sued unidentified data scrapers, but the case was dismissed by a Dallas County District Court judge, who ordered X Corp. to pay court costs.