Updates in Facebook’s Fight Against Spam and Spammers

October 20, 2010 at 10:32am

UPDATE on January 27, 2011: This week, a federal court awarded Facebook $360,500,000 in statutory damages and issued a permanent injunction kicking a known spammer, Philip Porembski, off Facebook for good. We're pleased with the win, which is just another result in an ongoing enforcement effort.

 

We hate spam and phishing just as much as you do, and we work hard to keep it off Facebook.  We do this in a number of ways.  We employ technical systems to automatically detect and block spammy behavior, provide easy report links across the site, and develop unique and innovative tools to help you protect your account and information from unauthorized access.

 

We also investigate specific spam attacks on Facebook and use the legal system to go after the people behind them.

 

This week, in a U.S. federal court in San Jose, California, we filed three lawsuits alleging violations of our terms and applicable law by defendants attempting to trick people on Facebook into signing up for mobile subscriptions and sending spam to their friends.

 

In three separate complaints, we allege that Steven Richter, Jason Swan, and Max Bounty, Inc. used Facebook to offer enticing, but non-existent products and services.  According to our complaints, the defendants, among other things, represented that in order to qualify for certain fake or deceptive offers, people had to spam their friends, sign up for automatic mobile phone subscription services, or provide other information.  We claim that by doing this, they violated 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.

 

This isn’t the first time we’ve taken spammers to court.  In fact, Facebook holds the record for the two largest judgments in the history of the CAN-SPAM Act - an $873 million judgment against Adam Guerbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital and a $711 million judgment against Sanford Wallace.  In another important victory, a court in Montreal, Canada, where Guerbuez is based, recently ruled that the U.S. court’s judgment against him could be enforced in Canada.  Our efforts are even mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

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.  

 

While we’re fighting from our end, we need your help too.  Be wary of suspicious-looking posts or messages, and report spam when you see it using the links located throughout the site.  Finally, if you haven’t already, like the Facebook Security Page for tips and information on how to recognize spam and stay safe on Facebook and across the Internet.  You can also take our “Stop. Think. Connect." quiz to test your knowledge, post a badge to your profile, and share tips with friends.