Corrected: Facebook Files Suit Against Spammers

Social network Facebook said on Wednesday that it is bringing new suits against individuals accused of using the 500 million person social network to send spam messages and promote non existent products. 

Social network Facebook said on Wednesday that it is bringing new suits against individuals accused of using the 500 million person social network to send spam messages and promote non existent products. 

Correction: This story, as originally run, inaccurately identified the Steven Richter named in the complaint filed October 19, 2010 by Facebook as the father of Scott Richter and General Counsel for Media Breakaway. The Richter named in the complaint filed by Facebook bears no relation to Scott Richter or his father Steven. The first paragraph has been altered and the fifth paragraph removed to correct the story.

Social network Facebook said on Wednesday that it is bringing new suits against individuals accused of using the 500 million person social network to send spam messages and promote non existent products. 

The company on Tuesday filed three separate complaints in U.S. Federal Court in San Jose, California against individuals and companies it accused of abusing its network to promote a variety of schemes, which Facebook claims violate the terms of its own user agreement, as well as the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the CAN-SPAM act. 

The complaints allege a variety of nefarious activities by the defendants. In the case of Steven Richter, Facebook claims defendant “fraudulently created” more than 40 deceptive Facebook Pages advertising legitimate services between December, 2009 and March 2010. Those pages took Facebook users on a tour of a variety of intermediary sites that paid Richter for the referred traffic. Among the scams was an offer for “Facebook Gold” accounts – a non-existent, advertising free Facebook offering.

Richter’s spam campaign also benefited from the use of “malicious computer code” to spread the spam messages across Facebook’s network, the complaint alleges.

Swan, who is CTO of CPAlead, an affiliate marketing firm, is alleged to have created 27 fake Facebook profiles and 13 Facebook Pages, as well as a handful of applications. Like Richter, he sought to drive traffic from Facebook spam through affiliate sites that would pay him for the referred traffic. He used lures, including advertisements for a non-existent “dislike” button and bogus surveys hosted on affiliate pages. Information collected, including Facebook user cell phone numbers was used to sign them up for premium subscription services, the complaint allows. 

In a statement posted by Facebook Security, the company said it will press enforcement and collection efforts against the spammers. 

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Discussion

  • Anonymous on

    Evidently not satisfied with stealing bandwidth, Scott Richter of Affiliate.com also shows a penchant for heavy equipment. In an unrelated 2003 case, he was put on probation after pleading guilty to a felony charge of receiving stolen items worth more than $10,000. According to court records, an informant's tip regarding a stolen Bobcat loader led undercover officers to Richter. Over the course of 13 months, the officers proceeded to strike deals with him for a Honda generator, hundreds of cases of cigarettes, three laptop computers and other items, all offered at suspiciously low prices and purchased in some of Denver’s seediest neighborhoods. In addition to probation, Richter was also ordered to pay $38,000 in restitution for the stolen goods.

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