Despite Instagram's Terms of Use (TOU) saying purchasing likes, followers and general activity isn't permitted, there's no shortage of services available that'll do just that. Instagram has long tried to shut these services down, but now the issue is going to be challenged in court for one particular New Zealand-based company.

Facebook has announced in a post on its Newsroom website that it and Instagram have filed a lawsuit in United States federal court against a company and three individuals located in New Zealand. According to the complaint, the defendants used various websites and corporations 'to sell fake engagement services to Instagram users.'

A screenshot provided in the complaint showing the pricing of LikeSocial, a website Facebook and Instagram allege the defendants used to sell inauthentic Instagram activity.

Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation, writes in the post titled 'Preventing Inauthentic Behavior on Instagram' that 'By filing the lawsuit, we are sending a message that this kind of fraudulent activity is not tolerated on our services, and we will act to protect the integrity of our platform.' She later adds:

'Inauthentic activity has no place on our platform. That’s why we devote significant resources to detecting and stopping this behavior, including blocking the creation and use of fake accounts, and using machine learning technology to proactively find and remove inauthentic activity from Instagram.'

The lawsuit specifically seeks to stop the defendants from 'Engaging and profiting in the sale of fake likes, views and followers on Instagram,' 'Violating our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines' and 'Violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other California laws for distributing fake likes on Instagram even after their access was revoked and their accounts were suspended.'

According to the complaint, the defendants amassed roughly $9,430,000 from the allegedly fraudulent services and companies. Some of the specific websites mentioned in the complaint include SocialEnvy.co, IGFamous.net, Social10x.com, smseries.co.nz, SocialSteeze.net and LikeSocial.co.