Spammer Ordered to Pay Facebook $711M, But is it Enough?

Dennis Faas's picture

Facebook won an unprecedented $711 million dollar legal victory over one of the world's most notorious spammers, Stanford Wallace. While many feel that the triumph over Wallace is a just legal victory, critics argue that the decision could actually help spammers.

Spam King Forced to Abdicate Throne

Late last week, Judge Jeremy Fogel ordered Sanford Wallace to pay $711 million in damages for flooding Facebook with unwanted spam messages. Dubbed the "Spam King", Wallace would assume control of a victim's account and post dubious wall messages. (Source:

The posts, which began in November 2008, were deemed to be such a nuisance that Judge Fogel is also requesting Wallace be prosecuted for criminal contempt.

Loopholes in Legislation

With this final court ruling, spammers now have formal documentation with which to follow when conducting their business. Many fear that spammers will welcome the chance to find loopholes around the new legislation.

The news that the court ruling will be received as a new challenge to spammers has to be troubling for Facebook. After all, deterrence is the reason the social networking site sought such a ballooned figure in the first place.

Said Sam O'Rourke, member of the Facebook legal team, "While we don't expect to receive the vast majority of the award, we hope that this [ruling] will act as a continued deterrent against these criminals." (Source:

Facebook: Spam Will Deter Future Users

Many feel that the continued presence of spam will be enough to drive faithful users away from the web site. If fears are to come true, this is sure to affect other social networking sites like MySpace and Twitter.

According to Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research, "Social networking is for both business and pleasure. In both cases, if you find yourself wasting too much time [dealing with spam], you'll stop doing it. If the downside can't be controlled, it will hurt social networking quite a bit." (Source:

In the case of Facebook, an investment of sound resources and a continued commitment to driving down spam levels (along with the court ruling serving as precedence) will hopefully set the course for a decline in deviant behavior sooner rather than later.

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