Anti Piracy
& Anti Counterfeit Blog

Does Facebook have a counterfeit problem?

Posted by Gordon Mcconnell on Friday, Jan 12, 2018

facebook & counterfeits header.pngIn response to increased policing on ecommerce, have counterfeiters moved their focus to Facebook as a sales channel?

As brand protection specialists, Red Points is always monitoring any changes to the counterfeiting landscape. Over the past 3 years, our analysts have noticed a steady increase in the number of infringements on Facebook, Instagram and other social media site. This evidence has been further supported by the release of Facebook’s IP infringement reporting statistics, which were made public recently.

Facebook has made a conscious effort to strengthen their IP protection on the platform. Within Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and their Community Standards, it is clear that posts which infringe on third parties’ intellectual property are strictly prohibited. Instagram’s Terms of Use also prohibit IP infringing posts.

However despite these clear regulations Facebook and it’s partner app, Instagram has seen a significant rise in the number of individuals posting defacto adverts to purchase counterfeit items. This trend has been noted by brand protection specialists for the past 3 years. However, the problem appears to be gathering pace.

Joan Porta, Head of Brand Protection at Red Points stated: “Social media has become a real hotbed of counterfeit activity in recent years. The adverts are usually for small-scale orders but are increasingly well targeted at customers.”

Facebook’s number for the first 6 months show a steady increase in the number of counterfeit and trademark claims made against posts, pages and users on the site.

Trademark reports 2017



Counterfeit Reports 2017

facebook counterfeit infringement-reports

Instagram counterfeit infringement-reports

Instagram has the largest growth in the number of reports for both counterfeits and trademark; the number of counterfeits reported on Instagram increased by 60% in the 6 month period. However, a recent study conducted by Red Points found explosive growth in the sale of counterfeit sports products on Facebook. Many in the brand protection industry have started to recognise that the traditional e-commerce sites are no longer their only concern. The exact cause of this is not clear, however industry professionals believe there are a number of influencing factors

Laura Urquizu, CEO of Red Points said: “One of the principal causes for the increase of counterfeits on social media is the improved removal tools on large ecommerce sites, resulting in counterfeiters varying their tactics. In addition, we’ve observed that adverts and posts selling counterfeits are increasingly well branded and better aimed at audiences. Thus, the large audiences and targeting tools available on social media channels have undoubtedly drawn counterfeiters to social media. This should serve as a red flag to brand owners that counterfeiters are growing more sophisticated in their sales techniques; brands need to take action quickly to defend their assets online.”

It's clear that Facebook has improved their reporting and removal tools. Also, the social media giant has continued to invest in other helpful products such as their rights manager tool, which helps owners of video content police their site and also Facebook have made use of using third-party services like Audible Magic to help rights owners. However, as the numbers of uploads continue to increase  brand protection technology providers will continue to play an important part in protecting the creativity and rights of brands.

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About the author

Gordon Mcconnell

Post Written by Gordon Mcconnell

Gordon leads our content team as editor and content marketing manager. He has worked for over 5 years in data journalism and business writing for a range of companies and NGOs.