The self-proclaimed spam king of the Internet, Sam "Spamford" Wallace, was ordered to pay Facebook $711 million in civil damages for slinging spam on the social networking site.
Wallace allegedly accessed Facebook accounts without obtaining permission, and used them to make bogus wall posts and spam the account holders' friends. Those actions run afoul of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which sets guidelines for commercial e-mails, which are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [PC World]. The judge also referred Wallace to the U.S.
Attorney's Office with a request that he be prosecuted for criminal contempt, which means he could actually face jail time if convicted.
If you've ever received an unsolicited email (and who hasn't), chances are good that it came from Wallace's company,
Cyber Promotions, which was once the largest source of spam. So not surprisingly, this isn't the first time Spamford has run afoul of the law.
In May, 2008, MySpace won a $230 million judgment against Wallace for sending junk messages. Wallace was also fined $4 million by the Federal Trade Commission in 2006 for his excessive pop-up ads [CNN]. Officials at Facebook said they don't expect to see much of the $711 million, seeing as how Wallace is bankrupt and may soon have to send out his spam as hand written letters from behind bars.
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Image: flickr / benstein