Facebook said it has filed a lawsuit in the US against two companies that used scraping to engage in an international data harvesting operation. These companies scraped data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Amazon, in order to sell “marketing intelligence” and other services.
Though web scraping is commonly used by companies to keep pace with the competition, it can actual hurt a company’s revenue in many ways. Quantifying the business impact of scraping can be a complex exercise. Several factors need to be considered, including lost search engine ranking, wasted infrastructure costs and theft of intellectual property or trade secrets. According to the research report from Aberdeen Research, The Business Impact of Website Scraping, the median annual business impact of website scraping is as much as 80% of overall e-commerce website profitability. Facebook’s lawsuit against the two companies that had engaged in an international data scraping operation highlights the issues and economic impact of its use.