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Facebook & Myspace Taking Some Spammers To Court 96

kevinqtipreedy writes "Social networks like Facebook and Myspace are now bringing spammers into the court systems in new attempts to put a stop to it. Although spammers rarely show up in court and the suits do not always lead to monetary reward, companies are hoping the 'chilling effect' will help in the effort to curb spam."
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Facebook & Myspace Taking Some Spammers To Court

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  • sure... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nossie ( 753694 ) <IanHarvie@@@4Development...Net> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @09:13PM (#24723143)

    Just like it is helping to curb e-mail spam ....

    • by Nymz ( 905908 )
      Isn't hauling spammers into court a little extreme? To avoid criticism they should try a more gentle approach, like a self-despamming program that would give spammers 90 days to stop, instead of clogging up our courthouses like they clog up our inboxes. We could call it "Operation Scheduled Despamming" after the very successful "Operation Scheduled Departure" [washingtontimes.com] which to date has already been successful in 8 cases.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Nossie ( 753694 )

        Maybe the courts are a little extreme ....

        Personally I'd just take them outside and make them hand open the same amount of envelopes as they spammed ...

        And if they fail - shoot them.

      • Who cares? Facebook sucks anyway and is for teens with hormone problems anyway. I say let the spammers sell their penis enlargements to their biggest potential market...
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      Spam. The other way to drive click-fraud...

    • by Dan541 ( 1032000 )

      email spam?

      Just setup spam assassin and be done with it.

      Seems to me if we can fight email spam we should be able to fight ANY type of spam.

    • I dunno, I use gmail and get no spam. I've abandoned my yahoo account which gets hundreds every day.
  • ...Craigslist and Hot or Not next? You know, women never get these fake ads, but men do all the time. I told a couple of women about the fake ads we get, and they say they get nothing. I guess only men are stupid?
    • Re:ok how about... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 23, 2008 @09:41PM (#24723263)

      scams targeting women are more accepted as normal. ie... all the ads saying a woman needs this or that product for great skin, hair, ect... every womans magazine and beauty product uses the same tactic to sell crap to women. 'you need this or you're an ugly fat cow'. Its not even thought about as anything but normal.

      that crap doesnt work on men. but the ones that play on their desperation to get laid work real well.

      Women have their vanity targeted. Men have their hormones targeted.

      One is accepted. One isnt.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Then you could go as far as saying that TV spams your vision with Cars, medicines, insurance, cellphones, ISPs, etc, adds, which is certainly true.

        This issue has nothing to do with man/women differences nor the target audience. The difference between spam and "regular" adds is that spam kicks into your personal communication ways, like your e-mail and even your regular mail, without you wanting it there and for no particular reason.

        Of course you can ask why there are so many penis enlargement spam ma
    • No, we get them too, or at least I do. 'Sexy' men apparently want to be my friend a lot. But I just break their hearts. ;) That's just in the social networking/media sites (last.fm, imeem, myspace, etc), but never LiveJournal or any of the clones.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 23, 2008 @09:22PM (#24723173)

    Are you a criminal? Now you can join the social network just for criminals, Jailspace! It's never been easier to meet other sexual predators pretending to be underage girls, or conspire to commit fraud with our incredibly easy networking features.

  • Working (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dasheiff ( 261577 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @09:25PM (#24723183)

    Actually, my spam on myspace has dropped to nill for the past few months. It used to be everytime I logged in there was 3-4 hot girls that wanted to be my friend which was of course just an advertisement for a pay site. I always marked them as spam (sometimes their account had already been removed by the time I got out to clearing up my friends request). I doubt that it's these lawsuits but they definally did something (probally limiting the amount of new friend requests you can make on a new account per day or something) that did the trick.

    • wget -O - msplinks.com

    • I don't understand why are people so bothered by this ?! Jesus, just click the "not accept" button and that's that. You are wasting your time anyway on that site, basically just doing nothing. Does this really take up from you precious time, 3 seconds to deny unwanted friends?
      • Yeah, but how would you feel if every time you go to the site you see a couple dozen friend requests only to be, in several seconds time, re-informed that nobody wants to be your friend, they just want to take your money. A minute, twelve seconds, and all that hope wasted...

        • This can happen in real life too.... How many friends you actually have? And it's really a bit sad if you are hoping to make real good friend on myspace or whatever...
          • I don't actually have any friends, you insensitive clod! Seriously, though what's so bad about looking for friends online? Not that empirical evidence is worth anything, but I have met a few nice people on the sites in question and lightning might strike twice.

    • Actually, my spam on myspace has dropped to nill for the past few months. It used to be everytime I logged in there was 3-4 hot girls that wanted to be my friend which was of course just an advertisement for a pay site

      I still get about 2-3 a day, I mark them as spam as well- maybe it is number of friends (more paths to search) or something, don't know

  • Oft companies make some pretty dumb decisions. Sure this may stop a couple of spam messages out of the probable millions.

    What about their users? How comfortable will this make them when they know they are visiting a site that legally prosecutes people acting within their right?

    I don't think this will be a revenue generator.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Risen888 ( 306092 )

      They're not within their rights. See the "user conduct" section of the Facebook terms of use.

  • by $pace6host ( 865145 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @09:36PM (#24723231) Journal
    I've been a long time user and proponent of sneakemail.com, I love the "whitelist" approach for filtering out SPAM, I love knowing who leaked or shared my address, and I love that I can turn them off if they start sending me junk I don't want. I also like that it forwards to my main email address.

    Unfortunately, sneakemail has recently been getting blocked by more and more sites.

    GishPuppy looks similar (and maybe even easier to use). Is anyone using it, or another, similar service?

    • i too have used sneakemail regularly for years; it's great.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I use NearlyFreeSpeech.net's e-mail forwarding. For 2 pennies per day, they forward any mail received at my domain. I've got both specific mappings (box1@example.com forwards to something) and blanket mappings (anything sent to a box without a specific mapping is sent to my address.) When I need to give out an address, I simply make one up. If that address starts getting spam, I simply blackhole it (i.e. I map it to discard@nearlyfreespeech.net). Simple, effective, and cheap.

      Yes, I know I _could_ run m

    • I've been using GishPuppy [gishpuppy.com] for a while, though it's sometimes down and doesn't forward as instantly as I like. Its simple interface for creating new addresses and expiring current ones is the best aspect for me. I've used Spam Gourmet [spamgourmet.com] a few times and it looks promising. It has several interesting features that I have yet to master.
      • You're the second person who commented that GishPuppy is down/slow. That sounds like a pretty fixable problem, maybe they'll improve. Their interface looks nice, better than sneakemail's, and I imagine that since they're newer, they haven't been blocked / banned by as many sites yet. I wish either one (or both!) of them would allow you to make them a mail handler for your personal domain. That way, I could have their service, but using my own unique domain name that I register myself. I'd be willing to chip
        • Oh, I only use those services to provide disposable e-mail addresses that forward to my main one. I don't know whether they even have any spam filtering.
    • I want to thank you for the sneakemail knowledge. I've just become a fan. I signed up, checked it out, and paid for a 6 month plan. I went and changed a few sites I have emails with just to check it out. I must say, though, that having Gmail really cuts down on your spam, even without sneakemail.
      • by tilde_e ( 943106 )
        Gmail also supports user+whatever@gmail.com. While your email address user@gmail.com could be derived from this, most automated systems wont do that, allowing you to create an account per vendor and write rules for each.
    • The thing that's different with Facebook / MySpace spam is that often, they're definitely stealing someone's password to post stuff as them. That is (or should be) squarely in the realm of "breaking into a computer system". Since there is massive evidence of repeated criminal behavior (one for each account they break) and they leave behind a money trail (where does the money for the adwords on xxx.blogspot.com go?), it should be possible to bring a criminal case, have them extradited, and throw them in fe

      • At least Facebook allow you to have a long password. Myspace have an arbitrary limit, for some reason I can't fathom.
      • by yuna49 ( 905461 )

        The thing that's different with Facebook / MySpace spam is that often, they're definitely stealing someone's password to post stuff as them. That is (or should be) squarely in the realm of "breaking into a computer system".

        Whether violations of a site's terms of service should be considered actionable under the terms of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Acts is now being litigated in the Justice Department's suit against Lori Drew [wired.com]. Many civil libertarians like myself oppose this suit because it looks li

        • I don't think one needs to be a civil libertarian to see "collateral damage" all over the argument in the Lori Drew case. TOS are a simple contract, and the last thing we need is for people to be jailed for violating a (typically) over-zealous contract that nobody reads.

          The article talks about Facebook & Myspace suing in civil court spammers who violate the TOS, purely as a breach of contract. No extension there. It's probably a good idea for them to do this, but the fact is that those kinds of spam

    • I run my own email server off of my DSL, and do something similar to this. I have a private email address which never gets revealed, and a separate email address for everyone who needs to contact me. All of those email aliases get forwarded to my private address. If I start getting spam on one of the aliases, I know who it came from, and I can shut down the alias. My spam has dropped by 99.9999%, with the remaining .0001% being from an old public address which I don't want to change yet.

      My email server

      • This is just about what sneakemail does for me. I've been avoiding setting up my own mailserver for a couple of reasons... 1, I'm pretty sure it's against my TOS, so I'd need to upgrade service (they might even block 25); 2, the limited amount of interaction I've had with postfix has convinced me that mail servers need a considerable amount of thought and attention, that I haven't been willing to invest; and 3, I've been concerned about security.

        How hard has this been for you to set up / maintain? I could s

    • I use SpamGourmet [spamgourmet.com] for a few years now. You can e-mails that auto-expire after x amount of e-mails and/or add trusted domains that don't toggle the e-mail count.

  • by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @09:46PM (#24723297) Homepage

    Well action in the courts has stopped everyone sharing music, so this is clearly a strategy with a great deal of merit.

  • At least once a week I get a message on my wall from a friend that reads something like "Oh man you have to check out these awesome ringtones, they have all your favorites at (some random address).blogspot.com!!!!"

    My policy is that if you're dumb enough to get your facebook hacked by a spammer, you don't get to be my friend anymore (online or in reality).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by D-Cypell ( 446534 )

      Thats interesting.

      I have not seen this kind of thing yet (I guess I have smart friends ;o)). Are you saying that these people actually have their username/password compromised or is there some kind of facebook app that when installed can initiate this kind of activity?

      • I'm almost certain it's a matter of compromised passwords. Whenever I get it, I would check the person's profile for new apps before I remove them from my list. I've seen it on many other people's walls as well.

        Interestingly enough, almost 75% of the cases I've seen on other people's walls, it's from whatever popular sports star happens to be the big man on campus at the time. I suspect they make for easy targets as they usually have many, many facebook friends.
    • I replied to the Nigerian spammer on my Facebook Wall and won $1 million. HOORAY!!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by edalytical ( 671270 )

      Maybe instead of retribution for your friends stupidity you should try educating them.

      I've only received a few of these wall post spams on Facebook, then again I only allow a select few to be my friends.

      Anyone have a link that describes how a Facebook account get compromised in easy to understand terms? You know something we can pass on to our less technologically inclined friends should this happen to them.

    • Really? Not me. I occasionally have to delete some spammy crap on groups I admin from sockpuppet accounts, but never on my wall and never from a friend, and I've been a pretty active Facebook member since early on.

  • by ThinkComp ( 514335 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @10:31PM (#24723519)

    When I suggested to Mark in 2004 that he make Facebook the largest spam-free e-mail system in the world by continuing to require user authentication, he said that he didn't want to compete with Microsoft. I didn't know at the time that Microsoft would become a large investor. It seems now that for Facebook, Inc., taking that investment has come at a price, which may be minuscule by comparison in monetary terms, but is still real. We're still desperately in need of a reliable messaging system that works, which I think probably means that it needs to be closed.


    Authoritas: One Student's Harvard Admissions and the Founding of the Facebook Era [aarongreenspan.com]

    • Aaron,

      the "reliable messaging system that works" exists and does not need to be closed.

      It is called signed e-mail (PGP) and allows every recipient to filter on PGP signature [brondsema.net], with the knowledge that the author can't falsify himself. New authors are assigned their trust by the signature chain that signed their signature (if I trust someone in their, I'm willing to read the e-mail).

      But the powers to be don't want a system that is controlled by the end-users and not by the intermediates called mail servers and

  • Maybe a good old-fashioned whopping on the asses of the spammers who sit on them would do wonders... instead of wasting valuable court time.

  • by www.sorehands.com ( 142825 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:02PM (#24723639) Homepage

    I have been suing spammers for a few years. Actually I sued the companies that were advertised the spammers, and paid the spammers. Some companies that have been sued have taken steps to terminate the 'affiliates' that were sending the spam.

    Lately, it seems less effective. But, if more people started suing spammers, and the companies that hire them, that violate the law it dry up the marketplace for spammers.

    One company, Deniro Marketing who runs amateurmatch.com, went as far as lying to the Court and then having the Wayback Machine delete any traces of the evidence when called on it.

    Another company, I sued 3 times and obtained 3 default judgments, collected over $200k on the first two. Of course they claim that even though I seized money from the accounts, they didn't know anything about the lawsuits. Another person I know collected over $100k from them. Recently, in the last suit, the Defendants were able to vacate the judgment and be permitted to file an answer. I have seized several of their domain names to prevent them from selling them. Defendants counsel have been lying through their teeth and playing games -- but what can you expect from a spammer's lawyer.

    I'll have to start putting up the details of this lawsuit. But I have details of the others on my web site.

    http://www.barbieslapp.com/spam [barbieslapp.com]
    So many spammers to sue, so little time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      How did they get the wayback machine modified? Is there some kind of exclusion form you can use?

  • by Neuropol ( 665537 ) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @12:06AM (#24723947) Homepage
    I'm willing to go as far as to say that I bet 90% of the spam that ends up in the inboxes at social network sites is more than likely a phishing endeavor designed to steal some thing from you. Albeit your money, time, or sensitive personal information.

    No one can sanely make the comparison between junk paper mail and spam emails any more. Junk paper mail was never primarily designed to steal any thing from you and is generally benign in nature. It's just advertising.

    On the other hand, spam emails have been the motivation of criminally minded individuals for the last 10 plus years. Due to the light handed approach to penalizing these con artists, they've been allowed to take it to any extreme they see fit.

    I rank these guys in the same category as domain squatters.

    Hang 'em high, judges.
    • by cdrguru ( 88047 )

      I would offer that to many people on Slashdot the difference between advertising and something designed to steal from you is indisguishable from zero.

  • I am not sure this is going to be an effective strategy in the long run.


    What I would like to see is an email server that uses temp email addresses. All outgoing mail sent to the postbox is readdressed to a temp email (server generated) The user can set the life of a temp email addresses to say 24 hrs. Return email is forwarded back to the home email address until the time expires and the email address disappears. Then there is no place for the spam to go. Trusted people could get the home email, everyo

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This reminds me of a somewhat similar concept used by American Express in the past. They used have a service where for online credit card transactions you could generate a one time use credit card number set for a specific amount of money. I thought it was brilliant, especially when dealing with a website that you are unfamiliar with. Sadly they got rid it though.

    • Won't work. First, some people actually want to receive mail from people they do not know yet. Second, as soon as one of your friend's Windoze PC gets compromised and it sends junk to everyone in its address book, you get on the spam lists too.
  • They should concentrate to bringing the companies employing the spammers to court, cut the problem at the root or close to it.

  • Is to punish the companies that do the advertisements, not the spammers.

    Remove the money from spam, it will disappear overnight. ( except for the virus based ones of course )

  • by ArIck ( 203 )

    RIAA/MPAA has been unable to deter honesst hard-working law abiding people to stop P2P by taking a few to court. What makes them think that those criminal spammers, who have links with the underground would be deterred by it!

  • I like my Spam chilled... no other way to have it..

  • How do you use Emacs to sort RMAIL email based on SpamAssassin headers?...

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling