How We’re Proactively Combating Counterfeits and Piracy

Today we’re releasing our Intellectual Property Transparency Report covering the second half of 2020. For the first time, we’re sharing how much content we removed proactively for potential counterfeit or copyright infringement, before it was reported to us by a rights holder.

Protecting intellectual property (IP) is important to us, which is why we’re sharing more information about how we proactively combat IP infringement. That means going beyond taking down content when it’s reported to us. We believe that proactively removing violating content will help further protect people and businesses, and will deter people from violating IP rights on our platforms.

From July to December 2020, the vast majority of content we took action on for potential counterfeit or copyright-related violations were removed proactively:

  • Counterfeit removals: On Facebook, 99.7% of all counterfeit-related removals were done proactively, meaning we removed 335,765,018 pieces of suspected counterfeit content before they were reported to us by a rights holder. On Instagram, 82.8% of all counterfeit-related removals were done proactively, accounting for 2,696,272 pieces of content.
  • Copyright removals: On Facebook, 77.9% of all copyright-related removals were done proactively, accounting for 9,822,070 pieces of content. On Instagram, 59% of all copyright-related removals were done proactively, accounting for 2,170,529 pieces of content.

Key Initiatives to Protect Intellectual Property

Our ability to protect IP is a result of ongoing investments and advancements in how we use technology to identify potentially infringing content, as well as partnerships with rights holders and organizations that focus on IP issues. We recognize we play an important role in combating counterfeiting and piracy online, and we’ve advanced our IP protection program in several ways, including through: 

  • Robust proactive enforcement systems: To better detect and remove potential counterfeiting and piracy, we use a combination of machine learning, suspicious signals such as prior IP violations and keywords commonly associated with infringement, as well as direct insights from rights holders, among other things. For example, we block violating ads and Marketplace posts based on a number of indicators that may suggest what’s being sold is counterfeit, such as brand names, price points, discounts, logos and more. Similarly, we’ve also taken steps to proactively stop the spread of links dedicated to copyright infringement and to remove content related to devices that facilitate illicit streaming of copyrighted material. 
  • Specialized tools to protect IP: We’ve developed a suite of IP protection tools, including Rights Manager and the Commerce & Ads IP Tool, to help rights holders better protect their brands and creations. Rights Manager is a video, audio and image-matching tool for creators to identify content that matches their own. When matches are detected, rights holders can take various actions, including, in some cases, blocking the content. Separately, our Commerce & Ads IP Tool helps to eliminate the need for rights holders to search for potentially infringing ads and commerce listings. The tool displays potential matches based on text and images, allowing rights holders to report infringing commercial listings from Facebook and Instagram Shops in addition to ads, Marketplace listings and sale group posts.
  • Partnerships with rights holders: Collaborating with rights holders is a critical element of IP protection across Facebook and Instagram. By regularly engaging with brands, creators and trade organizations that focus on IP issues, we’re able to gain insights that help us enhance our IP protection program and develop new, innovative strategies to tackle IP infringement. For example, in April, Facebook filed a joint litigation with Gucci against an international counterfeiting business, the first lawsuit of its kind for both companies. Collaborations like this are critical to our broader efforts to tackle IP infringement and send a clear signal to those who seek to abuse our platforms that this behavior will not be tolerated.

Though the battle against counterfeits and piracy online continues, we believe the efforts we’re making are keeping people safer while also protecting the interests of rights holders on both Facebook and Instagram. We hope the information we are sharing today is another step in that direction.