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Client Alert: What Does The Meta v. Bright Data Summary Judgment Ruling Mean For Web Scraping?

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On January 23, 2024, Judge Chen of the Northern District of California, who granted a preliminary injunction against LinkedIn in the seminal hiQ v. LinkedIn data scraping case, granted Bright Data’s motion for summary judgment in Meta v. Bright Data. Our summary of that case and the Judge’s ruling is available here. There can be no doubt that the Bright Data ruling provides definitive answers to important questions posed by data scraper, Bright Data, in defending against claims brought by Meta. However, the Bright Data ruling leaves many questions unanswered for those on both sides of the scraper v. content provider battle and has the potential to cause further confusion about the current (and complicated) legal landscape of scraping. Below, we provide an overview of the key takeaways from the recent Bright Data ruling, as well as a summary of some of the questions left unanswered. 

Key Takeaways From The Bright Data Summary Judgment Ruling:

  • Meta’s terms of service may not be construed to prohibit logged-off scraping of data that is publicly available on Meta’s platforms.
  • A clause in Facebook’s terms of service that purports to prohibit scraping of Facebook data in perpetuity—even after a user terminated any agreements with Meta—is unenforceable.
  • A CAPTCHA designed to deter scraping technologies does not convert otherwise publicly available information to “private” information in the same way that placing information behind a log-in screen makes that information “private.”
  • Meta’s current terms are reasonably construed as applying only to “users” (that is, account holders) while those users are logged in to Meta’s platforms. Relatedly, “those who do not subscribe to Meta services do not see the Terms and cannot be bound thereby.” 

Questions The Bright Data Summary Judgment Ruling Leaves Unanswered:   

  •  The Bright Data ruling only analyzed Meta’s terms of service and therefore should not be interpreted to apply to all websites. The Court’s findings in Bright Data were grounded in the specific language of Meta’s terms as well as extrinsic evidence. The question before the Court was a narrow one:  Can Meta’s terms of service be read to prohibit scraping of public data while not logged in to Facebook or Instagram? 
  • The Bright Data ruling does not opine on whether scraping data behind a log-in screen would violate Meta’s terms of service. The Court did not address that question because it found that Meta had not offered evidence sufficient to raise a reasonable inference that Bright Data had in fact scraped data while logged in to an account. 
  • The Bright Data ruling does not mean that scraping publicly available data is per se There are a number of legal claims that content providers have asserted against data scrapers, and a breach of contract claim for an alleged violation of terms of service is only one.  Indeed, the Court granted Meta leave to file a claim for “quasi contract”, and Meta’s claim against Bright Data for tortious interference with contract is still pending.
  • The Bight Data ruling does not preclude Meta from attempting to re-write their terms to prohibit scraping of public data.

Quinn Emanuel will continue to follow the case closely. 



If you have any questions about the issues addressed in this memorandum, or if you would like a copy of any of the materials mentioned in it, please do not hesitate to contact:


Hope Skibitsky


Phone: +1 212-849-7535


Renita Sharma


Phone: +1 212-849-7413


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