Facebook Wins £430 Million Payout Against Spam King

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Social networking giant Facebook has won a staggering $711 million (£429 million) in damages against so called ‘spam king’ Sanford Wallace

Social networking giant Facebook has won a massive $711 million (£429 million) in damages against Sanford “Spamford” Wallace, also known as the ‘Spam King’, but it seem highly unlikely it will collect the payout.

Earlier this year Facebook filed a federal complaint against Wallace in San Jose District Court for accessing people’s Facebook accounts without their permission and sending phony mail and posts to the individuals’ public message wall.

Wallace did not oppose the motion or appear at the hearing on 18 September, and subsequently Judge Jeremy Fogel of the US District Court of the Northern District of California decided this week to grant Facebook’s application for a default judgement against Wallace for violating the Can-Spam Act.

Judge Fogel also found that Wallace “willfully violated” a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction issued in the case. He has referred Wallace for prosecution for criminal contempt of court.

According to the Inside Facebook blog, this is not the first time Wallace has been accused of malicious marketing practices on social networks. In May of 2008, MySpace won a $234 million (£141 million) judgement against Wallace and his business partner Walter Rines for illegal spam and phishing attacks against MySpace users. But Wallace has been charged with various federal crimes over the last decade relating to spam.

It seems highly unlikely therefore that Facebook will actually gain much proceeds from the award. Indeed, its own lawyer admitted as much in a statement.


“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,” Sam O’Rourke, Facebook’s lead counsel for litigation and intellectual property, wrote in a Facebook blog post. “This is another important victory in our fight against spam. We will continue to pursue damages against other spammers.”

Author: Tom Jowitt
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