Labyron Carr and his nonprofit Cappin4Capo Inc., which he founded in 2017 after his son was killed by gun violence, alleged that Instagram’s parent company repeatedly prevented them from accessing the social media profile after it was hacked last September.
The hack was allegedly committed by Safiyanu Sahibu or an individual identified as “John Doe,” the June 23 complaint in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois said. The hacker impersonated the plaintiffs while encouraging the profile’s followers to invest in NFTs, it said.
The lawsuit against Meta comes as other social media companies defend themselves in litigation over account impersonators. Some, such as
Despite several attempts to gain reentry, Instagram didn’t grant Carr access after the hack, the lawsuit said. Though Carr has several pictures of himself on the Cappin4Capo account, he alleged Instagram said it was unable to verify his profile after he submitted a video selfie, one of the company’s reentry tools.
Carr and his nonprofit asserted that, by aiding the hacker in maintaining control over the profile, Meta contributed to causing confusion, mistake, or deception among the profile’s followers, who have assumed the hacker’s posts are sponsored or endorsed by Cappin4Capo.
According to the case, the hacker encouraged the profile’s followers to send money, such as by requesting $750 with the promise of $16,400 in return.
The plaintiffs also alleged that Meta had reason to know the hacker was engaging in trademark infringement because the company reviewed, and subsequently denied, their Trademark Report Form, which noted that the hacker was operating the profile as its own.
The lawsuit brings contributory unfair competition, false association, and false designation of origin claims against Meta under the Lanham Act. It also alleges state invasion of privacy, right of publicity, and other claims against the hacker.
Irwin IP LLC represents Carr and his nonprofit. Attorneys haven’t yet entered an appearance for Meta.
Meta did not immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment.
The case is Carr v. Meta Platforms, Inc., N.D. Ill., No. 1:23-cv-4017.