February 9, 2011

Obsessed Facebook Fan Hit With Restraining Order

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has obtained a restraining order against a 31-year-old man who has been attempting to contact him, sending him hand-written letters and apparently seeking money for a family member's medical condition, various media outlets are reporting.

Late Tuesday evening, Facebook confirmed to French news agency AFP that a California judge had issued a court order telling Pradeep Manukonda to stay at least 300 yards away from Zuckerberg, his sister Randi, and his girlfriend, Priscilla Chan. Officials from the social networking website declined to discuss specific details of the situation, AFP reporters said.

According to a BBC News report, Manukonda had "shown up at several Facebook offices" as well as Zuckerberg's home "to ask for money."

"He told Mr. Zuckerberg he needed cash to fund his mother's medical treatment," the British news organization added.

They also cite a previous report by the celebrity news website TMZ.com which says that Manukonda referred to himself as a software engineer in the letter and requested a meeting with Zuckerberg, whom he referred to as "my lord," asking him to "please spare two minutes of your valuable time in order to explain her condition."

"Manukonda tried to contact Zuckerberg numerous times in December via letter, e-mail and Facebook, including more than 20 times in one day, Facebook security officer Todd Sheets said in a court declaration," Terry Collins of the Associated Press (AP) reported Tuesday. "Manukonda also left a note on Zuckerberg's car and was later spotted outside his house, Sheets said."

"Guards stopped Manukonda just as he was about to walk up the front stairs to Zuckerberg's Palo Alto residence, where Zuckerberg's girlfriend was inside, according to court documents," Collins added. "Sheets said he contacted Palo Alto police at the time and that an officer gave Manukonda a verbal stay-away order. Two days later, Sheets says Manukonda sent Zuckerberg a letter at his home and flowers two days after that, despite an in-person interview with Sheets where he promised to stop."

Manukonda did not respond to the AP's request for comment.


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