Facebook has won $873 million in a legal battle against a spammer.

 

The popular social networking site won $873 million in damages against Adam Guerbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital for sending spam messages to members.

 

Speaking in a blog, Max Kelly, director of security at Facebook, spoke of the ‘important victory' but admitted that the company does not expect to see the payment made.

 

Kelly said: “Last Friday, Facebook won an important victory for our users – and against spam and those who create it.

 

“We've all experienced spam – those unwanted and, sometimes, inappropriate marketing messages. The bad guys behind those messages are always looking to find new ways to annoy people and Facebook's users have been among those targeted. We don't take this affront to our users lying down.

“Does Facebook expect to quickly collect $873 million and share the proceeds in some way with our users? Alas, no. It's unlikely that Geurbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital could ever honour 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.”

 

Kelly claimed that Facebook is constantly working to find, expose and prosecute the sources of spam attacks, and said that this victory ‘complement the sophisticated technical systems we continue to develop to limit the impact of these attacks or to block them altogether'.

 

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: “What's more important is will it deter other spammers from attempting to abuse the system in future? Social networking spam has been on the rise this year as cybercriminals have realised that social networking users can be more easily fooled into clicking on a link that appears to have come from a Facebook friend than if it arrived via regular email.

 

“While Facebook is taking steps to better protect its users, hackers will no doubt continue to seek out new vectors of attack - ultimately the onus is on the individual user to exercise caution when using the site and when clicking on unknown links.

 

“Hackers are keen to steal the usernames and passwords of Facebook users as it makes it easier for them to spam out convincing messages to a victim's network of friends. You should not only choose a complex, hard-to-guess password for these sites, but also defend your computer with up-to-date anti-virus software and security patches.”