Facebook Details Its Efforts to Keep Counterfeit Goods Off Its Platform

Feature limits are imposed to prevent repeat infringers

Signals such as brand names, logos, keywords, prices, discounts and other indicators are used - Credit by geogif/iStock
Headshot of David Cohen

Facebook said in the Transparency Report for the first half of 2019, released earlier this month, that it removed 462,400 pieces of content from Facebook in response to 62,300 reports about counterfeit goods and 359,000 from Instagram in response to 39,200 reports.

The social network used a Good Questions, Real Answers blog post this week to discuss some of the ways it deals with counterfeit goods on its platform and helps advertisers protect their intellectual property.

Brands that discover content infringing on their rights, including content offering counterfeit goods, can be reported via tools on Facebook and Instagram, where they can indicate whether that content appears on a profile, page, group, ad or listing on ecommerce destination Marketplace.

The social network said content is typically removed within a day or two, and often quicker, adding that further action will be taken in cases of widespread infringement.

Facebook wrote, “Even when a rights holder reports only one item to us as counterfeit, we typically don’t stop there. Often, we take steps to review an entire page, Instagram account or ad account if we see evidence of widespread infringement. In addition to taking down reported content or users, we disable the accounts of repeat infringers where appropriate. This includes profiles, pages, groups and ad accounts on Facebook and Instagram.”

The social network added that in order to prevent repeat infringers, it takes steps including imposing temporary feature limits or removing access to certain features, such as Marketplace. Messages are sent to infringers explaining why those actions were taken and what may happen if they continue to run afoul of policy.

IP rights holders can also use Facebook’s commerce and ads IP tool to locate and report infringement on Marketplace, group sales posts and ads on Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook also uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to help block or reduce distribution of potentially counterfeit content on Facebook and Instagram.

Marketplace posts and ads are reviewed against the company’s policies before they go live, and signals such as brand names, logos, keywords, prices, discounts and other indicators are used to block content that may be selling counterfeit goods.

Hashtags that contain certain combinations of brands and keywords that indicate counterfeiting, such as replica, are blocked.

And visibility is limited for Instagram posts via signals such as keywords in text and hashtags, as well as other suspicious behavior.

As far as discouraging users from purchasing counterfeit goods via its platform, there are detailed IP Help Centers on Facebook and Instagram.

And on Marketplace, people can flag listings for review, There is also a list of safety tips for Marketplace, including a section specifically dedicated to counterfeit goods, and purchase protection policies are in place to potentially provide refunds to people who unknowingly purchase counterfeit goods.

Facebook said in its blog post, “Protecting IP rights across our services is always a priority, but leading up to the holiday season, it’s often especially top-of-mind for advertisers. We have strict policies against counterfeit goods and other kinds of IP violations.”


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
Publish date: November 22, 2019 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/facebook-details-its-efforts-to-keep-counterfeit-goods-off-its-platform/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT