Facebook 'Dislikes' Spammers With Lawsuit

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Facebook doesn't need a “dislike” button to register its disgust with spammers – it’s using the legal system.

In a post on its official blog, the Facebook security team announced that it had filed lawsuits in federal court against three alleged spammers: Steven Richter, Jason Swan and Max Bounty, Inc., the latter a Canadian marketing firm that represents online advertisers. According to the complaints, the parties used deceptive offers on Facebook fan pages to scam users into spamming their friends, signing up for mobile phone subscription services and handing over personal information. This puts them in violation of the 2003 CAN-SPAM act, which prohibits certain forms of email spam and other electronic communications, says the company.

According to IDG New Service, the spammers are responsible for two popular scams – one promising a Facebook “Gold Account” and another promising the fabled “dislike button.” As we reported in August, scams of this type usually work by gathering users' personal information then signing them up for a $5 monthly mobile subscription service.

This is not the first time Facebook has taken to the courts to flush out spammers. As the social network notes on its blog, lawsuits against spammers in 2008 and 2009 resulted in judgments of $873 million and $711 million for the company, the two largest awards in the history of the CAN-SPAM act.

Continuing concerns about privacy on Facebook, including the recent revelation that third-party applications were transmitting user data to advertisers, have put the site on the defensive in recent months. Perhaps by going on the offensive against the some of the site's more notorious scammers, Facebook hopes it can regain some credibility among privacy advocates and its own users.

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