Facebook, the social networking website has won an award of $711 million in damages. The damages awarded from Sanford Wallace who is a prolific spammer and social network scammer, reports state. The man was banned from accessing Facebook as well, as punishment for bombarding Facebook users with spam. The lawsuit, filed by Facebook in early 2009, names Wallace, Adam Arzoomanian and Scott Shaw, all accused of accessing accounts of users without permission to do so and sending spam emails and making posts to public message walls of users.
Facebook has a long list of victories over spammers, including one in 2008 for some $873 million against Adam Guerbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital. In this ruling, the three men violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the California Anti Phishing Act and the Controlling the Assault of Non Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act.
However, experts believe that Facebook will not see the judgement awarded. In fact, Wallace and his partner, Walter Rines, were fined some $230 million in May of 2008 in a case involving MySpace. In that case, the accused tricked users into providing login information through phishing scams. Then, as they accessed the accounts of users, they sent more than 730,000 messages with links to gambling, porn and ringtone websites. The two made more than half a million though their MySpace violations only.
It is unlikely that Facebook will receive much of the judgment, but that is not what Facebook is hoping for. They are using the case as a ploy to show other pro spammers what can happen to them for violating the rules. However, experts state that pro spammers already know what to expect and they do not see it as a deterrent. In fact, whenever these pros lose, they simply disappear for some time and emerge as a different entity somewhere else, rarely paying any of the fees they owe.
Ninety-Five percent of all email is spam, says Jamie De Guerre, who is chief technology officer at Cloudmark. De Guerre also stated that while the industry is doing well to fight spam, the spammers are doing well to find new ways to continue the process. The problem, and perhaps the solution, lies in the hands of consumers and legitimate organizations, who may wish to take more conservative communication efforts, such as avoiding any type of URLs in email communications. The problem is worldwide, and is even more common in other countries. In Russia, for example, even legitimate, respectable companies use spam.
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