Myspace and Facebook Tough on Spam and Publicity

Whether it’s high profile publicity stunts or really making a statement, spammers are on notice from social networks. The “terms of use” agreement every person has to electronically sign, before becoming a member of MySpace or Facebook, is being used against spammers in court.

MySpace won a default judgment against “Spamford” Wallace, back in May, 2008. The infamous Scott Richter also had to pony up $6 million to MySpace back in June. Mr. Richter’s spamming exploits are well known, from his $7 million settlement with Microsoft back in 2006, for alleged illegal spam activities. Last week Facebook filed a law suit against Adam Guerbuez. He is accused of hijacking some 4 million Facebook accounts to market illegal drugs and other offensive products.

Different than other Internet companies, social networks won’t allow a person to send the first message on a social network, without agreeing to a very carefully worded online document. This agreement MySpace members sign specifically says a person must pay MySpace $50 for each unsolicited email. This agreement appears to hold its own, as in a case with MySpace vs. TheGlobe.com. The judge upheld that particular agreement provision.

It’s usually harder to prove the exact injury to a company. Having exact dollar amounts in the usage agreements helps the social networks win cases. Under the CAN-SPAM Act, each violation is quantified with $100 in damages, and triple that amount if it’s done willfully.

It appears that for both Plaintiff and Defendant, these high profile cases provided both sides with a huge amount of publicity. In most cases parties settle the spam lawsuits. AOL and Microsoft fought have fought off spammers, with high profile law suits. “The legal publicity stunts have an impact, just not always the desired one” says John Dozier Jr. of Dozier Internet Law, which represents Internet marketing companies facing spam accusations.

Written by Jesmond Darmanin

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