Facebook Wins $873 Million Judgment Against Spammer

Written by Sue Walsh on December 12, 2012

 

Facebook has won yet another lawsuit against a spammer and walked away with a hefty judgment in their favor, but does anyone care? Even Facebook themselves admit their victory doesn’t mean much and their chances of collecting are slim.

“Does Facebook expect to quickly collect $873 million and share the proceeds in some way with our users? Alas, no. It’s unlikely that Geurbez and Atlantis Blue Capital could ever honor the judgment rendered against them (though we will certainly collect everything we can). But we are confident that this award represents a powerful deterrent to anyone and everyone who would seek to abuse Facebook and its users,” said Max Kelly, Facebook Security chief.

The social network successfully sued Adam Guerbuez of Montrealand his company Atlantis Blue Capital under the CAN-SPAM Act. Facebook says Guerbuez used a combination of phishing attacks and spam to trick users into turning over their login info after which he took over their accounts to spam the site.

While companies generally sue spammers in hopes it will act as a deterrent, in most cases it is a waste of time and money. Spammers rarely bother to acknowledge such suits let alone show up in court. Most don’t even live in the U.S. and are more or less judgment-proof as a result. The few U.S.-based spammers that were successfully sued simply filed for bankruptcy to avoid having to pay, and almost all spammers who are sued keep right on spamming.

So is there really any point to suing? Not really.

Comments

Martha Cambridge December 17, 2012

I think the better question is, is there any point in eventually enforcing the judgment? If I were to answer, I would say yes. This is the only way we can prove to all spammers out there that the anti-spamming law definitely has teeth, and anyone who is found guilty of it is going to face some tough consequences. Otherwise, it will only reinforce my belief that one of the reasons why these spammers are so brave is because no one dares to really put them behind bars. Or that they may have to review the law to make sure it’s something they can truly comply with.

Abby Ross December 20, 2012

This is a very interesting post. As far as I know, Facebook is one of the huge “violators” when it comes to privacy. In fact, Instagram (which Facebook just bought) is in hot waters for a change in terms and conditions, which grants them the authority to sell user photos to advertisers! And yet they’ve never been taken to court or investigated further. Though I know that what the scammers did deserved punishment, but I also think Facebook should be served one as well. Otherwise, there’s really no clear justice in the world.

Howard Dwight January 2, 2013

I don’t think Facebook will be able to collect that amount of money—ever. But seriously I don’t know why the court even considered such amount for the criminal. I think it’s utterly useless. Perhaps one of the positive things we can get out of this story is that courts are now taking such types of cases seriously and that those who have been constantly spammed will know they do have a legal remedy. They can fight for the invasion of privacy as well as for potential theft of private information.

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