Facebook targets cyber crime with three lawsuits


Facebook has launched three lawsuits as it seeks to rid the site of phishing, spamming and other illicit activities.

Two of the lawsuits have been lodged against individuals - Steven Richter and Jason Swan with Facebook alleging the men used the social networking service "to offer enticing, but non-existent products and services."

Canadian affiliate marketing company Max Bounty has been named in a third lawsuit for the same alleged activities. All three cases were filed this week at a US federal court in San Jose, California.

"According to our complaints, the defendants, among other things, represented that in order to qualify for certain fake or deceptive offers, people had to spam their friends, sign up for automatic mobile phone subscription services, or provide other information," the Facebook Security team wrote on a blog.

"We claim that by doing this, they violated the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM), and other state and federal laws."

Facebook holds the record for the two biggest judgments in the history of the CAN-SPAM Act, with an $873 million (554 million) judgment against Adam Guerbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital and a $711 million case against Sanford Wallace.

The service has been targeted by various scams since its inception, including numerous clickjacking attacks, where users have been forced to 'Like' Facebook webpages.

Other scams have promised lurid content without ever delivering.

A case for privacy?

Meanwhile, a Facebook user has launched a lawsuit against game developer Zynga, according to various reports.

Facebook member Nancy Graf of St Paul, Minnesota has alleged Zynga collected and shared user IDs and therefore violated federal law and the social networking site's terms of service, according to reports.

The lawsuit follows an investigation from the Wall Street Journal claiming Facebook apps had been passing on users' details to tracking companies without members knowledge or permission.

In some cases, users' friend's names had been passed on to advertising and internet tracking companies, while even people who set their profiles to Facebook's strictest privacy settings had been affected, the report suggested.

Zynga has produced a number of popular titles including Farmville and Mafia Wars.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.