February 23, 2024

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Facebook cracks down on sites that impersonate its services


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Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook said Thursday it’s suing Namecheap and Whoisguard for providing website addresses that impersonate the social network and can be used for frauds and scams.

The lawsuit is part of the company’s efforts to crack down on domain names such as instagrambusinesshelp.com, facebo0k-login.com and whatsappdownload.site that appear to be tied to Facebook and the apps it owns but are not. In a similar lawsuit filed in October, Facebook also sued web hosts OnlineNIC and ID Shield over trademark infringement and cybersquatting.

“These domain names can trick people into believing they are legitimate and are often used for phishing, fraud and scams,” said Christen Dubois, Facebook’s director and associate general counsel for intellectual property litigation, in a blog post.

The lawsuit, filed in Arizona also accuses Namecheap of trademark infringement. It alleges that Namecheap’s service Whoisguard registered or used 45 domain names that could deceive people into thinking they’re associated with Facebook. The social network alleges that Whoisguard declined to cooperate after Facebook asked for more information about these names. Facebook said it sent notices to Whoisguard between October 2018 and February 2020.

“We don’t want people to be deceived by these web addresses, so we’ve taken legal action,” Dubois said in the blog post.

A spokesman for Namecheap didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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