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Three separate lawsuits filed in US federal court allege parties violated Facebook terms and US law
Facebook announced Wednesday that it has filed three lawsuits against three separate parties for allegedly sending spam to users in violation of Facebook’s terms and United States law. The three lawsuits were filed in a U.S. federal court in San Jose, CA.
The three parties--Steven Richter, Jason Swan and Max Bounty, Inc.--each allegedly used Facebook to lure users with the promise of products and services that didn’t really exist. The defendants tricked users into spamming their friends, registering for mobile phone subscription services, and giving up other personal information.
Citing the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM), and other state and federal laws, Facebook hopes to prove that the defendants broke federal and state laws through their actions.
If Facebook wins, which isn’t unprecedented in its legal fights against spammers, the defendants will have some paying up to do.
In November 2008, a San Jose court awarded the company $873 million in damages against Adam Guerbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital “for sending sleazy messages to [Facebook] users.” And in October 2009, a San Jose court again awarded Facebook $711 million in damages against Sanford Wallace, a spammer who gained access to user accounts without permission and “sent phony Wall posts and messages.” Both are landmark rulings in the history of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.
In its statement, Facebook expresses pride over its achievements against spammers, to the point of bragging about having received a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records. But the company is not satisfied with its past achievements alone:
We will press on with enforcement and collection efforts against spammers and fraudsters, and we’re committed to applying continuous legal pressure to send a strong message to spammers that they’re not welcome on Facebook. Stay tuned as our push against spammers and scammers escalates over the next month, year and beyond. We have other actions pending, and there will be more to come.
Facebook’s announcement comes only a couple days after a Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that some Facebook Platform applications, including some of the most popular titles, were inadvertently sharing user IDs with “advertising and Internet tracking companies,” a privacy breach that Facebook quickly responded to.
It seems like as the years go on, Facebook has grown more mature and steadfast about responding to privacy issues. It will be necessary to maintain that attitude and perhaps be even stricter when it comes to privacy blunders, if Facebook wants its users to always trust their information on the site.
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