Facebook wins hollow victory against Spam King
Facebook has been awarded $711.2 million in damages against Sanford Wallace, also known as the Spam King, though it seems unlikely the social-networking site will ever collect.
Facebook pursued Wallace after he used hacked accounts to bombard the site’s users with thousands of messages promoting “cool sites”, which inevitably were trying to sell something or make money on hits.
“The record demonstrates that Wallace wilfully violated the statutes in question with blatant disregard for the rights of Facebook and the thousands of Facebook users whose accounts were compromised by his conduct,” writes Judge Jeremy Fogel of the US District Court of the Northern District of California.
We’re confident the ruling will act as a powerful deterrent against those who would abuse Facebook
Aside from the damages, the order prevents Wallace from accessing the site again. Wallace didn’t attend the hearing, and the judge has ordered that if he’s found he be prosecuted for criminal contempt of court – a sentence which comes with jail time.
Facebook hailed the victory and claimed it would serve as a warning. “We don’t expect to collect the majority of the award, but we’ll work hard to get everything we can. We’re confident the ruling will act as a powerful deterrent against those who would abuse Facebook and its users.”
However, the words ring a little hollow given that MySpace won a $234 million verdict against Wallace back in May and has failed to collect. Indeed, Wallace has numerous anti-spam judgements against him, following suits from AOL and other leading service providers.