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Facebook sues Kings Park man, claims spam scam

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Facebook has filed three lawsuits, including one against Steven Richter of Kings Park, for spamming its users, according to court documents.

Richter created dozens of fake Facebook profiles and pages that redirected users' computers to websites that paid him for the traffic, Facebook said in a complaint filed this week in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif.

Victims were tricked "into using malicious computer code that allowed him to spam the Facebook user's friends with commercial messages that appeared to come from the user when in fact they were sent by" Richter, the documents said.

Efforts to reach Richter Thursday were unsuccessful.

In a separate lawsuit, Facebook charged that Jason Swan of Las Vegas created fake websites and Facebook pages that claimed to be able to add a "dislike" button - a feature that users have been clamoring for.

A third lawsuit, against MaxBounty Inc., of Ottawa, Canada, charges the company set up deceptive Facebook pages to trick users into going to MaxBounty's commercial websites and allowing spam to be sent to their Facebook friends.

The lawsuits claim the alleged spammers violated laws including the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM).

In an announcement about the litigation on its Facebook security page, the company said, "We will press on with enforcement and collection efforts against spammers and fraudsters, and we're committed to applying continuous legal pressure to send a strong message to spammers that they're not welcome on Facebook."

The complaint against Richter said that between December 2009 and March he was paid for traffic he generated through Facebook as an affiliate of advertising companies.

For instance, Facebook charged, he falsely advertised a "Facebook Gold Account" service and "FarmVille: Limited Edition Large Horse Stable" - links that actually drove users to a third-party site, which paid him for the traffic.

In one such scheme he allegedly earned about 44 cents for each of the 388,000 Facebook users that he redirected to other sites.

One of the companies for which he was a marketing affiliate was CPAlead, based in Las Vegas.

Robert Reynolds, chief executive of CPAlead, said in an e-mail Thursday the company's platform brings advertisement offers to websites. He said Richter was "terminated from our network in March." Using the technology to monetize spam is a violation of its policies, he added.

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