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Facebook wins spammer suit

October 31, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Facebook Inc., the world's most popular social-networking website, was awarded $711 million in damages against a spammer who gained access to users' accounts and sent phony messages.

Sanford Wallace sent unsolicited mass e-mails to users, tricking many of them into divulging their log-in information or redirecting them to websites that paid him for each visit, Facebook claimed in a lawsuit.

"Wallace willfully violated the statutes in question with blatant disregard for the rights of Facebook users whose accounts were compromised by his conduct," U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose said in a court order.

The Palo Alto company asked for more than $7 billion in damages in the suit filed in February. Facebook doesn't expect to receive a "vast majority" of the award against Wallace, according to a blog posting on its website.

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