Facebook is going to court once again, but this time as a victim. The social media giant has filed a lawsuit against the domain name registrar OnlineNIC and its Whois privacy service, Domain ID Shield, for registering deceiving domain names which allowed the purchaser to pretend to be associated with Facebook.
Some examples of such domains are www-facebook-login.com, login-lnstargram.com or facebook-mails.com.
Facebook has alleged that these domains were intentionally created to mislead the users who believed that they are dealing with Facebook. These domains have also been associated with other nefarious activities, such as phishing.
Some of the domain owners stood to gain profits by selling them back to Facebook at a marked up price, while others had rather more malicious intentions. And with the launch of Facebook’s crytocurency, Libra, the cybersquatting went even further. Facebook was able to tackle some of such domains like facebooktoken.org and and ico-facebook.org, which had already started collecting information from users disguised as a Facebook ICO.
However, the lawsuit is completely focused on OnlineNIC this time, which Facebook says has a long history of selling domains to cybersquatters.
The suit has mentioned 20 other domains which are freakishly similar to trademarks of Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook has demanded a complete injunction against these activities and has asked to be awarded damages in lieu of the losses it incurred due to OnlineNIC’s activities.
OnlineNIC has been taken to the court because it has not been responsive towards Facebook over its concerns. Facebook openly stated that when they have issues with domain name providers and their privacy services, they work proactively with them to bring such domains down. However, sometimes as in this particular case, the domain providers are not responsive to Facebook’s concerns.
Facebook is being represented by Attorney David J. Steele who has a history of suing and winning against OnlineNIC in the past. Steele won a $33 million judgement for Verizon against the same company.
“By mentioning our apps and services in the domain names, OnlineNIC and ID Shield intended to make them appear legitimate and confuse people. This activity is known as cybersquatting and OnlineNIC has a history of this behavior. This lawsuit is one more step in our ongoing efforts to protect people’s safety and privacy.