CASE STUDY

Social Media & Clustering Case Study

INCOPRO has removed 11,462 Instagram users and 79,3954 Instagram posts on behalf of clients in the 12 month period from April 2015, and this was before we added WeChat to our monitoring scope.

The main issue on Instagram is centred on so-called “clusters”, this is where one user or post is linked to another based on a unique identifier. For example, an Instagram user may watermark their pictures with a WeChat ID, this same ID may be found in the “about me” section of another user. By this method we are able to link together different Instagram users, and connect them to any external avenues of sale they may be using- in the case of Instagram it is often WeChat.  We are able to discover the true scope of a counterfeiter and take down all the accounts they use, eliminating the problem fully.

We have noticed that counterfeiters’ behaviour on social media has shifted from the very obvious, for example using the brand names in their user names to attract views, to now having the entire operation on social media from initial contact to payment or using clusters of social media accounts to bypass the difficulties with visibility of a domain or marketplace listing.

Using the data TALISMAN collects, we have helped social media platforms understand the extent to which counterfeiters are exploiting their platforms, leading to their policies changing and them being more open to blocking users and rethinking what amounts to trademark infringement.