Facebook initiated legal proceedings against app developers in the UK and the US for alleged misuse of user data on its main platform and account infringements on its Instagram subsidiary.

In a statement, director of Facebook’s platform enforcement and litigation team Jessica Romero explained the company was suing UK-based MobiBurn, and Oak Smart Technology and its founder Fatih Haltas for gathering user data from Facebook and other social media companies “by paying app developers to install a malicious Software Development Kit (SDK) in their apps”.

MobiBurn was collecting information including users’ name, gender and email addresses without compromising Facebook, but by using “the malicious SDK on the users’ devices to collect information”, Romero noted.

Facebook claimed it demanded an audit after discovering the issue with the help of security researchers, but the defendants failed to comply.

Its US lawsuit accuses Nikolay Holper of running Nakrutka, a service used to “distribute fake likes, comments, views and followers on Instagram” through bots and automation software.

The company said it previously cut off accounts linked to Holper and Nakrutka, and issued a cease and desist letter.

Last month, Facebook admitted a flaw allowed around 5,000 third-party app developers to collect personal user information after authorised periods had expired.