How to Effectively Protect your IP on Facebook and Instagram

How brands can identify and address potential threats related to IP infringement on Facebook and Instagram

In this webinar, you will learn:


How Facebook and Instagram evolved to help businesses during COVID


How to protect your Intellectual Property on Facebook and Instagram


What happens when you report content on Facebook and Instagram?


What tools can businesses use on social media to report counterfeits?


How to Effectively Protect your IP on Facebook and Instagram

How Facebook and Instagram evolved to help businesses during COVID


Daniel Shapiro  01:03

Yes. Thank you for joining us. I’ll be hosting this session, and I’m ready to learn alongside everybody else who is attending this session. So, Sabrina, if it’s okay with you, I’ll start the first question to you, which is, given the global current global environment, particularly with COVID and the pandemic, how has Facebook and Instagram helped businesses survive during this tumultuous year?


Sabrina Perelman  01:33

Yeah, it’s a great question. And thanks again for having us. Sorry about that technical difficulty. So, obviously COVID has changed the entire world around us, including the way we all interact with each other, including conferences like this, which we would hopefully someday in the not too distant future do again in person. So, we’ve seen an unprecedented shift to online and basically every walk of our life from work to connecting with friends and family, and the way that businesses are trying to reach customers and customers are trying to reach the products that they care about. So, we of course are still a social media company, but we’re identifying the needs of our community in that way, and businesses and customers are equally a part of our community. 


So, one of the ways that we have sort of contributed to this effort and to this kind of shift to online is by making it easier for people to shop and helping businesses adapt to the new environment we’re in by making buying and selling more accessible and more secure within Facebook. So what that means is for people, we’re making it easier to discover and shop for things that you love across our apps, including through things like Facebook shops and Instagram shopping. And for businesses, we’re building tools to help businesses of all sizes essentially tell their brand story and grow their audience and their businesses online


So, for example, Instagram shops lets businesses create a free digital storefront essentially, so that any seller, no matter their size, large or small, no matter their budget, can bring their business online even when it wasn’t before and connect with customers wherever and whenever is convenient for them. There’s a whole lot more information about this. I’m just an IP lawyer, but I do know a thing or two about our businesses, we expand into new and exciting products. So, I would encourage folks, if they’re interested in learning more about the opportunities there, there’s lots of information in our Facebook for business portal, as well as our newsroom where we made a bunch of announcements throughout the course of 2020 about the evolution of shops.


Daniel Shapiro  03:46

Thank you, Sabrina. And I think, again, critical to the health and wellness of so many businesses was the ability to utilize the tools and features that Facebook and Instagram provided businesses to make it around the corner, to the one day when we can all do business in person. So, a question for Michelle would be, Michelle, as more business shifts to online, how can brands protect their IP on Facebook and Instagram specifically?


Reporting forms


Michelle Moon  04:16

That’s a great question. And as Sabrina mentioned, these are really challenging times, and we at Facebook are deeply committed to and care about keeping the platform safe, as well as for many businesses out there and listening today how to keep your IP safe. So, there are a number of ways and investments that our company and our IP teams have made to provide avenues for reporting what may be infringing or violating your IP or the business’s IP, and/or our own terms of use, or Terms of Service on the platform. While we do have a number of ways to report, by and large, the most frequent and preferred way to do that is through our standard publicly available reporting forms. But before I get into that, I just wanted to mention very quickly, in terms of the investments, our global IP operations team has grown tremendously over the years just as the platform has. It really has been in lockstep with our program in order to keep this a truly robust notice and takedown program. So, what that means is every single report that comes in is actually a person on our IP operations team reviewing it and processing that reports. Our team now numbers upwards of I believe it’s 300 now, and that doesn’t even include all of the additional teams that we work together with in order to do all of the enforcement and various policies across the platform. So that includes product, engineering, policy teams, legal teams, and so forth. So, there’s quite a great investment across the company to do this work. And our team also is 24/7. Global. I won’t belabor it too much, but we have offices around the world and in multiple local languages.


Daniel Shapiro  06:11

Thank you. And maybe as a follow-up question, Michelle, you mentioned in your answer to that question about some reporting forms, you know, where can brands or businesses find these reporting forms and use some of those features? Certainly an impressive volume of people helping. So…


Michelle Moon  06:29

Yes.  So, as I mentioned, the forms are publicly available, and I am very impressed with this slushy platform. We have, I think, correct me if I’m wrong, a prompt on the screen now where you can click to see the forms themselves. So, I encourage you to do so.


Daniel Shapiro  06:47

Yeah, everybody can click on that by the way. I don’t mean to interrupt you, but everybody can click on that. It will open a new tab, and you’ll have that tab available for you to look at. And then click back of course into the Brand Intelligence Summit, so that you can finish sharing. I didn’t mean to interrupt you, Michelle, but to finish sharing Michelle’s answer about these forms and how it works.


Michelle Moon  07:05

No, please, and dig around in those forms.  There’s, as you can see, multiple prompts that make it hopefully quite easy and streamlined to report content on our platform. To take a step back, these forms are available within our help centers. So, we have a Facebook Help Center and an Instagram Help Center. And within both of those, you can find our dedicated forms for IP. There are forms specifically for copyright, trademark, and counterfeits specifically. So, you’ll see through the prompts, you can sort of select which apply to the type of report you want to submit, and a couple of clicks, and hopefully you’re done, and you’re on your way.


How to protect your Intellectual Property on Facebook and Instagram


Daniel Shapiro  07:47

That’s awesome. And is that sort of the tips for best practice or are there even some additional tips you have for how someone could use these to their advantage and help take down some infringing issues?


Gather as much evidence as possible


Michelle Moon  08:01

Yeah, there are some just general best practices. And certainly with our reporting forms, we try to make it as easy as possible. But just to note, the way those forms are structured are really to provide fields for every type of information that we would need in order to simply efficiently process the report without having to do additional back and forth. So, you’ll see the form is actually structured down into four main sections, and each of the sections have information that is pretty critical to the components of the report. So, complete all of that information, and in most cases, we should be able to take that report and go ahead and process right away. 




A couple of other things just very quickly, when it comes to reporting content, you can report any content that appears on the platform that includes Facebook and Instagram across a number of the types of experiences on the platform. So, Sabrina mentioned shops, we have a marketplace and other areas of the platform. It is important and helpful to grab URLs where possible for the content that helps our IP operations team more efficiently locate and confirm the content. When we’re talking about specific types of content, I’ll just do a quick shoutout to ads because we do get lots of questions about this. Ads can be tricky just because there are so many different formats of ads across our platform. Best practice, again, is if you have the URL and the information about the ads and complete that accordingly. 


Screenshots for ads and stories


However, we do know sometimes there are ephemeral ads, for example, in stories, and if you’re able to grab a screenshot, as you’re viewing the ad, that too can be submitted and merely attached to a report, and our team we’ll look into it to locate that content.


What happens when you report content on Facebook and Instagram?


Daniel Shapiro  09:52

Great. That’s awesome. Maybe one more follow-up question, Michelle. Sorry to keep following up, but of the content that gets removed, is that publicly available or is it gone forever? How does that work from a standpoint of the content?


Michelle Moon  10:10

From removal of the content, once it’s down, we keep it down unless there is some reason, for example, between parties that they may come to some sort of agreement and then they can reach out to our team. We’ll review that request, and then we can, in some instances, restore the content. But zooming out a bit more in terms of information about our notice and takedown program, we’re very pleased to share our transparency report, which is a report we share half on half. So, generally January through June and then July through December. These reports are just a critical part of how seriously we take transparency, and it’s very exciting for our teams to be able to show the fruits of our work across the global program. I think we have yet another fun link here for you. So, please click that.


Daniel Shapiro  11:06

Yup. Awesome. And are there any specialized tools that businesses can leverage if they’re seeing infringement on Facebook and Instagram?


Michelle Moon  11:20

If I may, Daniel, if I could jump back to that last question very quickly, the way we do the transparency report, just because we have a bit of an exciting teaser announcement that we’d love to share with folks here today. Within our existing transparency report, it provides information about counterfeit, trademark, and copyright reports, the amount of content we have removed, as well as the removal rates. Now, that’s all related to our notice and takedown program. However, now we have heard a lot of interest across our users and our communities for what we do on the proactive side. So, we have been putting our efforts and focus together to publish what is going to be our first proactive IP Transparency Report, and that should be coming soon in, I believe, the following months.


What tools can businesses use on social media to report counterfeits? 


Daniel Shapiro  12:12

Wow, that’s fantastic. It is good breaking news on a morning like today, so that’s great. And maybe share with us the tools that people could leverage on Facebook and Instagram if they’re seeing challenges.


Michelle Moon  12:34

Yeah, so we do have a number of specialized tools that are essentially meant to enable and empower more efficient searching and reporting across the platform. On the copyright side, we have what’s called Rights Manager. I know today we’re much more focused on protecting brands, and in that respect, we have what we call the Commerce & Ads IP Tool. For those of you unfamiliar, this is a tool that I believe, and Sabrina, correct me if I’m wrong, I believe was launched in mid to late 2017, was it? And that was very much on the backs of a lot of close collaboration with rights holders based on their feedback and concerns, and really figuring out a specialized reporting tool that could help meet some of those needs and their brand protection efforts. 


So, what this tool does is really focusing on our surfaces within the platform that are more purely dedicated to commerce. So, buying and selling across the platform. If you think marketplace, if you think buy and sell groups. Now, you think about shops. And we also have obviously our ads. So, these are all types of content that we have now searchable through the Commerce & Ads IP Tool. These are divided sort of by an ads tab and a commerce tab. There’s a ton of information to talk about there. We could talk a whole session just about the Commerce & Ads IP Tool, but maybe just to give some basics, in terms of the eligibility and application process, right now it is direct rights holders that need to apply for the tool. You then can authorize your third-party providers like Red Points and others to then report on your behalf. The application process is quite simple. It’s an online application, there’s actually a link even within our Help Center, and you just need to provide some basic information for our team to then evaluate. And then if eligible, we’ll approve the application, and then you’re good to go, and we provide a user guide and everything. There’s a nice onboarding for the tool for folks.


Daniel Shapiro  14:48

That’s fantastic. And I’d like to bring Sabrina back in and ask Sabrina a question which is, Sabrina, how has Facebook and Instagram helped businesses do more to tackle infringements? I know it’s something that people ask a lot, and I know that you guys have been working really, really hard behind the scenes to do this. Maybe you could share a little bit about what’s happened.


Sabrina Perelman  15:10

Yeah. Absolutely. Happy too. It’s another topic we could probably talk about for hours. But suffice it to say, you know, philosophically we have Facebook and Instagram. We’re entirely aligned with the brands, and we don’t want infringing content on our platforms either. We want people to come to our platform and feel safe interacting with the people, content, and products that they see there. So, for that reason, we’ve invested really heavily over the years to put in place measures to get ahead of the problem as best as we can. I heard the previous panelists from Pura Vida talking about the whack-a-mole problem, we don’t want to play it either. It’s a waste of everybody’s time and resources. So, we’re really, really focusing on looking far, looking wide, and understanding how can we get at the bad actors and keep them off our platform. So, ideally what that means is getting the bad actors, getting the bad content down, keeping them down, and hopefully identifying them before the brands ever have to see them to report them to us, and in a truly ideal world, before they ever go live in the first place. So, it’s a lofty goal, but it’s one where we’re very, very committed to. Again, it’s way too much to talk about in too much detail here, but I can touch on a couple of sorts of points of the kinds of things that we’re always working on here. 


The first is in addition to that really robust notice and takedown program that Michelle was describing. So, when we react to reports that come in to us, we’ll of course take down the content that’s reported to us directly. That’s pretty much table stakes at this point. What we do beyond that is something that’s worth noting. So, for example, our policies are set out in a way that empowers our team. When they receive a report of content that is, for example, flagged to us as promoting counterfeits, even if only one or a handful of individual pieces of content are reported to us, we will review the entire sort of actor that’s responsible. So, if a couple of posts on a page are flagged to us, we will review the entire page or the entire group, Instagram account, ad account. And if it appears to us that it looked like it’s engaged essentially entirely in that type of activity, we’ll go ahead and take it down in its entirety. So, we’re not having to rely on a repeat infringer policy for most of these bad actors because we’ll get them down essentially on that first strike. So, it really again tries to get ahead of the problem, avoid the whack-a-mole issue. We, of course, do have a repeat infringer policy running sort of as a backstop, and that we do take down, you know, the actor level where appropriate there as well, but the great hope is to get ahead of that. We also have automation and policies running that are intended to, once we do get someone down as a bad actor or repeat infringer, to prevent them from coming back or to prevent them from using backup accounts and things like that. So, really try to keep them from abusing our policies once they’ve been taken down. 


And then really what most people are very interested in learning about is the very advanced work that we’re doing with respect to artificial intelligence, machine learning to try as best as we can to identify the truly suspicious content that’s likely to be infringing and likely to be promoting counterfeits or other bad content and remove it proactively to the extent, again, that we can. So, we have really robust measures on things like ads, marketplace, buy/sell groups, things like that that are sort of optimized for buying and selling, and ever more so in what we think of as organic content. So, things that aren’t necessarily targeted for buying and selling, but where we know buying and selling does happen. So, pages, groups, Instagram accounts, things like that. And as Michelle mentioned, we’re really hopeful that later this year, we’ll be able to show the impact of the work that we’ve been doing over time by releasing some numbers around the proactive removals that we’ve been doing, which is really exciting. That we’re looking forward to. 


Facebook’s Anti-Counterfeiting Guide



We have put together a lot more information than I can talk about here in a couple minutes in our Facebook for business platform. We call it our Anti-Counterfeiting Guide, I think we can do another one of those (19:26). So, I encourage anyone who’s interested in learning a little bit more about the measures we have in place, sort of our 360-degree view of tackling IP infringements and counterfeits on the platform to dig into those materials a little bit more.  There are a lot of useful links and information there that I think will be really helpful. 


The one thing I do want to just flag before we sort of wrap things up here is as committed as we are to all of these things, I do want to flag we’re not perfect at it, and we’ll be very transparent about that. We probably will never be perfect at it, right? Bad actors who are incentivized and sophisticated to come to our platform to abuse our policies are going to try and find a way to do it. So, that kind of adversarial bad behavior is one of the biggest challenges that we face, trying to stay one step ahead of the bad actors. As well as sort of, you know, technology isn’t as perfect as we want it to be, you know, we’re really proud we have what I think are the best engineers in the world tackling some of the hardest problems in the world. And technology is not perfect. Things will be missed. Things will break. So, in the end, we do count on the collaboration of brands to continue in sort of the parallel fight and report that content to us when they see it, relying on their expertise. And then over time that again will feed into the measures that we ourselves put in place to try and get evermore ahead of the issue. And that’s why the collaboration between ourselves and the brands are so critical. It’s really a keystone to our IP protection program, so that we learn what you all are seeing out there in the real world, the trends that you’re identifying, the challenges that you’re facing, so that we can aim to incorporate them into the measures we put in place.


Daniel Shapiro  21:17

Well, thank you, Sabrina. That’s awesome. I was thinking about, as you were talking about this, and of course, Michelle talking about the Commerce & Ads IP Tool, maybe we should do a quick poll just to see how many people out there today have used the Commerce & Ads IP Tool because it is such an important way in which to help Facebook remove that content with speed and accuracy, which they do all the time. So, if everybody could pick one of those answers and hit it, I think it will help sort of see or do well. It’s pretty impressive, Sabrina and Michelle, it looks like many, many people have used it, and we’ve still got more to do and get more people to know about it. But I hope this forum helps a lot of brands learn about that too.


Michelle Moon  22:12

If I may, at this point, since folks are answering that question, we do have another bit of a teaser to share, and we’re very excited to kind of use this forum and especially together with the businesses and brands that have joined us today. So, with the Commerce & Ads IP Tool, obviously it’s a tool that’s improved over time, and again through collaboration with rights holders and feedback that we get across our program. But one of the very big exciting new improvements to the tool that’s coming soon and is currently in a piloting stage is our image search, image based search function within the tool, which we really believe might change the game a bit and how folks can really scale out there searching and reporting based on what’s surfaced in the Commerce & Ads IP Tool. So, stay tuned for more updates as we do a more splashy and detailed launch about it, but we’re very excited to share some of that work as well. Our teams internally across product engineering and operations have been heads down to get this out to you all.


Daniel Shapiro  23:23

Well, that’s fantastic. I can’t remember if you mentioned those, their timeframe, when you thought that might be available.


Michelle Moon  23:29

I think Sabrina might know better than I.


Sabrina Perelman  23:33

So, I can’t make any promises, but within the not too distant future. In the next couple of months, we expect to have that launched.


Daniel Shapiro  23:40

That’ll be a game changer, as you said. That’s awesome. So listen, we’re very tight on time. There were a number of great questions that came in. And so, between Sabrina and Michelle, we’ll get them their questions, we’ll get responses back to all of you asked questions. I think it’s impressive that Facebook and Instagram continue to think about ways to help small business and big business through this difficult time in the pandemic, and I think the information and news you shared with all of us with regard to the tools and features that are available, and it looks like, you know, if more and more brands will use some of the features that you have, we’ll get to a better place. And I thank you again for breaking a couple great news pieces with us. And with that. I thank you both for your time today, I appreciate it and the information, Sabrina and Michelle.


Sabrina Perelman  24:35

Thanks for having us. Thanks everybody.


Michelle Moon 24:38

Thank you.

Read the full transcript


Sabrina Perelman

Associate General Counsel, IP at Facebook

Michelle Moon

Global Manager, Rightsholder Operations at Facebook

Daniel Shapiro

VP of Strategic Partnerships at Red Points

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