October 30, 2009

Facebook Awarded $711 In Anti-Spam Case

A California court has awarded Facebook $711 million in damages in an anti-spam case against Internet marketer Sanford Wallace.

The social networking site had sued Wallace for accessing users' accounts without their consent, and for sending fraudulent posts and messages.

"Today, a San Jose, Calif. court awarded Facebook $711 million in damages against Sanford Wallace, one of the spammers who accessed people's accounts without their permission and sent phony Wall posts and messages," wrote Sam O'Rourke, associate general counsel for Facebook, in a posting on the company's blog on Thursday.

The court also referred Wallace to the U.S. Attorney's office for prosecution for criminal contempt of court.

Wallace, who some call the "Spam King" and "Spamford" and is at the head of a firm that sent 30 million daily junk e-mails during the 1990s, could face jail time if convicted of the charges.

In May of last year, social networking site MySpace received a $230 million judgment over spam sent to its members after a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled against Wallace and his partner, Walter Rines.  As with the Facebook case, that suit was also brought under the CAN-SPAM federal anti-spam law.

Also, Wallace was fined $4 million in 2006 when the Federal Trade Commission charged him of leading an operation that infected computers with "spyware" that generated a series of pop-up ads.

"While we don't expect to receive the vast majority of the award, we hope that this will act as a continued deterrent against these criminals," wrote O'Rourke.

"This is another important victory in our fight against spam."

Facebook said the ruling is the second-largest anti-spam award in history.   Last November, the company was awarded an $873 million judgment against Adam Guerbuez and his business, Atlantis Blue Capital, who had sent a barrage of sexually explicit spam messages to Facebook users.


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