According to Facebook spokesman Simon Axten:
“Today, [Facebook] won an important battle in our ongoing fight against spam.
“A court in San Jose, California awarded Facebook $711 million in damages against Sanford Wallace, a spammer who accessed people’s accounts without their permission and sent phony Wall posts and messages.
“This is the second largest judgment in history for an action brought under CAN-SPAM (a previous [$873 million] judgment Facebook won against Adam Guerbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital back in November of 2008 is the biggest). While we don’t expect to quickly collect the full amount, we’ll work hard to get everything we can.
“Most importantly, the judge referred Wallace for prosecution for criminal contempt of court, which means that in addition to the judgment, he now faces possible jail time. We’re confident that today’s ruling will act as a powerful deterrent against those who would abuse Facebook and its users.
“The ruling is the result of tireless effort by [Facebook’s] Security and Legal teams, which work to find, expose, and prosecute the sources of spam attacks. As Sam O’Rourke, Associate General Counsel for Facebook, has stated, ;We’ll go to the ends of the Earth to protect our users from spam and make sure those who send it are held accountable.’ These efforts complement the sophisticated technical systems we continue to develop to limit the impact of these attacks, and where possible, block them altogether.”
While it is certainly laudable that Facebook is on watch against these kinds of activities, and that the company pursues the alleged bad guys, there’s no substitute for personal vigilance when it comes to keeping your data — and login information — secure.