‘Spam King’ ordered to pay US$711 million to Facebook


2 Nov 2009

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In what is surprisingly not the largest amount Facebook has sued for in a spam case, the world’s fourth-largest site by unique visitors last week won US$711 million in damages against spammer Sanford Wallace for unlawfully accessing user accounts and subsequently using them to spam their networks.

Wallace, who has in the past referred to himself as the Spam King, may also be prosecuted for criminal contempt and may possibly face jail time, said Facebook’s lead counsel for litigation and intellectual property Sam O’Rourke on the official Facebook blog.

“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,” he added.

The case against Wallace

What Wallace has done, according to Facebook, was register several user accounts, using these to spam fellow members and send links that tricked them into revealing their log-in details, also sending them to outside sites for which Wallace was be paid for referrals.

This court win for Facebook follows a similar victory back in November 2008: in what was the largest judgment in history for an action brought under Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM), the social-networking site was awarded US$873 million in damages against Adam Guerbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital.

It is unlikely Facebook will ever receive the majority of damages won as Wallace and his company SmartBOT had already been sued for US$4.1 million back in 2006 by the US Federal Trade Commission. Wallace, dubbed "Spamford", had filed for bankruptcy in June 2009.

By Marie Boran

Photo: Social-ntworking site Facebook has won US$711 million in damages against Sanford Wallace for unlawfully accessing user accounts and using them to spam their networks.

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