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Brand protection tools on Facebook

Facebook has recently introduced new brand protection features. Find out how they can contribute to your brand’s protection on Facebook and its platforms, and what kind of drawbacks the new tool has.

As the role of social media increases in e-Commerce, so does its responsibility towards brands and consumers. Providing sellers an easy access to thousands of consumers means that social media platforms should have a method for filtering out harmful content, including listings that infringe on brands’ IP rights and may offer potentially dangerous fake products to buyers.

The bigger the platform, the wider the reach, the higher the responsibility. In this regard, the biggest social media platform in the world, Facebook has to live up to a lot of expectations. The social media giant itself is heavily involved in social commerce, as are its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp.

Luckily, Facebook takes that responsibility seriously.

IP protection on Facebook

Screenshot of Facebook.com’s Brand Rights Protection homepage
Screenshot of Facebook.com’s Brand Rights Protection homepage

Facebook has an IP protection policy in place, which serves to prohibit sellers from posting IP-infringing listings. Well, a lot of social media platforms and online marketplaces have policies like that, but they’re not really effective unless the platform actually enforces it. Some of them don’t, but Facebook does.

In fact, we’ve already been working with Facebook via their IP-protection platform ever since the mid-2010s.

This platform, called Commerce & Ads IP Tool has always been very useful for detecting and removing IP-infringing listings and ads. But now, the social media giant has rebranded this tool and gave it a few features that will make it even more efficient in the fight against IP-infringing content on the platform.

Welcome to Facebook’s brand new Brand Right Protection tool.

The features

Brands with a Facebook page can access the Brand Rights Protection service via their Business Manager. Since each registered user of a brand page has different settings and authorizations, only those with the “IP Reviewer” role will be able to see and use this tool.

Once on the dashboard, you’ll be able to search for IP infringements within Facebook ads, marketplace listings, as well as Facebook pages and Instagram accounts. These latter are a new feature; they weren’t available before the update. (Please note that searching Facebook pages is still not available to every user, it’s being released in the coming weeks.)

You can look for infringements using a keyword or an image-based search. Useful filter options are available to narrow down your search results, including country, date, and platform. The results may also contain links to webshops if the original content (i.e. ads or listings) featured them, making it easier to click on the shops and determine if they’re authorized or not.

Reporting infringing content became much easier with the update. With a few simple clicks, users can create a list of infringing content and request takedown right away. The process is the same whether the content in question is an ad, a marketplace listing, or a Facebook/Instagram account.

Unfortunately, determining what is infringing is not always easy. To the untrained eye, it’s almost impossible to decide if a shop is selling fakes or not. Luckily, online brand protection experts at globaleyez have very well trained eyes and can easily spot fraudulent listings even among a large group of unfiltered search results.

Although we’ve already had excellent cooperation with Facebook regarding the reporting and takedown of infringing content, the new features definitely make our work easier as well. Instead of filling out long forms, we can request takedowns with just a few clicks.

Image of a person browsing Facebook
Image of a person browsing Facebook

Another new feature that came with the most recent update is the reference library. Here, users can upload copyrighted pictures and brand imagery and Facebook will compare these with pictures appearing in ads. The resulting list contains all the instances when a picture was displayed in an ad, detecting both authorized and unauthorized usage.

The drawbacks

While the new features are a huge step forward for brands and brand protection experts alike, there are a few problems with the update.

For instance, the reference library is not very helpful when it comes to copycat images. Many fraudsters don’t take a copyrighted product picture but create their own, which means they’ll be able to fly under the radar and use the copycat image to promote their unauthorized listing.

A perfect solution to this issue (one that globaleyez’s image monitoring service is already using) would be to include similar images in the search. It’s true that this casts a much wider net than simply looking for copyrighted pictures. But in that wider net a lot more fraudsters are caught, and extensive filtering options can help reduce the number of findings to really focus on infringing content. It works quite well with our service.

Another problematic issue is access to the Brand Rights Protection tool (and Facebook Business Manager in general).

We’ve already mentioned on several fora how easy it is to create a compelling fake webshop. With just a few clicks and basic internet knowledge, anybody can start selling anything. Well, it’s just as easy to register a business page on Facebook and gain access to all of its perks, including far-reaching ads, free product listings and a huge global audience.

In fact, we’ve encountered many fake business pages that simply contained a link to a fake webshop on Shopify and a few scattered images.

What’s next

Nevertheless, Facebook took a big step in the right direction. With the new features, the protection of IP rights on its many platforms became a bit easier.

We hope that they will continue with this good practice and keep releasing helpful features based on the feedback of brands and online brand protection experts to help make Facebook (and its many subsidiaries) a safer place for brands and consumers.

If you need further information and/or advice about the protection of your IP-rights on social media or anywhere else both off- and online, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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