In a ruling that’s more about a point of principle than money, a California judge has ordered “Spam King” Sanford Wallace to pay Facebook $711m in damages for the reams of spam messages sent via the service.
What made these messages particularly insidious is that they were sent from hacked accounts, attaching a superficial level of trust because they appeared to come from friends.
Wallace and his associates were also banned from accessing Facebook, though given how devious spammers and hackers can be, this would seem to be a difficult ruling to enforce.
Wallace has declared himself bankrupt, probably due to previous lawsuits filed against him, which means Facebook is unlikely to see much, if any, money. However, he could also be prosecuted for criminal contempt, in which case he could spend a term in jail.
An official statement from Facebook said that the company intended to “continue to pursue damages against other spammers”.
Will it deter other spammers from their nefarious tactics? Probably not, but at least it’s a small victory for the social network.