There has been a lot of controversy regarding Facebook’s ever evolving privacy policies, but it turns out that some of Facebook’s legal actions can actually benefit everyone. Facebook and Microsoft have both been actively fighting and prosecuting some of the Internet’s worst spammers. This week Facebook won $711 million in damages from Sanford Wallace after a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that Wallace had violated the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act. The U.S. CAN-SPAM Act national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail and requires the Federal Trade Commission to enforce its provisions.
Sam O’Rourke, associate general counsel at Facebook, says “If someone perpetrates a spam campaign that we feel is any way significant to our users, then we’ll go after them.” Meanwhile, just last month Microsoft filed a total of five suits against spammers using “malvertisement,” online ads that serve up malware to users computers.
These cases are one of the few situations where a big corporation getting involved helps benefit the average user. Patrick Peterson of Cisco says that the legal recourse being pursued by Microsoft and Facebook is good for everyone. “It is great for everyone,” he says. “In many cases people aren’t willing to go through the tremendous expense and distraction of prosecuting somebody.”
According to Patrick, you shouldn’t assume that these companies are pursuing these lawsuits as a source of revenue. Facebook and Microsoft usually never end up collecting real money for these cases, instead they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees for these lawsuits. Their ultimate goal behind these cases is just to halt spammers and set precedents to stop future spammers. “The next guy who thinks about doing this will think twice,” Peterson says.