Social networking giant Facebook has been awarded a hefty $837m (£556m) judgment against a Canadian spammer under the US Can-Spam Act.
The suit, filed in August in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, accused Adam Guerbuez, his business Atlantis Blue Capital and 25 other unnamed people of tricking Facebook users into giving up their passwords and using the accounts to send millions of unsolicited messages advertising various drug and sex web sites.
US District Judge Jeremy Fogel found Guerbuez in violation of the Can-Spam Act, and signed the default judgment on Friday awarding what is believed to be the largest payout to date under the legislation. The judge also included an injunction baning Guerbuez and his colleagues from accessing any Facebook data in the future.
Sam O'Rourke, senior counsel at Facebook, said that he hoped the decision would serve as a deterrent to other spammers.
"We want to make it clear that we are not just doing this for the PR value," he said. "We would like to have the message out there that we are not going to sit by and let spammers have that activity on our sites that is illegal and annoying to our users."
Facebook has retained lawyers in Canada to locate Guerbuez's assets and enforce the order.
Several arrests, convictions and fines have been dealt out since the introduction of the Can-Spam Act in 2003, including awards of $230m (£152m) and $6m (£3.98m) to MySpace in two separate cases earlier this year.
Spam levels dropped significantly recently after two major ISPs cut off internet access to hosting company McColo.
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