On January 26, 2011, the federal district court in the Northern District of California granted Facebook a default judgment against Philip Porembski and PP Web Services LLC for obtaining “login credentials for at least 116,000 Facebook accounts without authorization” and for sending “more than 7.2 million spam messages to Facebook users.” Facebook, Inc. v. Fisher, 2011 WL 250395 *1 (N.D.Cal. Jan. 26, 2011)
This case is a textbook example of how a company can use self help and available federal law to protect itself and its customers. Not only did Facebook bring a halt to the spam that was plaguing its users, but it also extracted from the perpetrators a significant monetary punishment without the assistance of law enforcement. What is noteworthy is that Facebook was able to achieve this result because it had strong policies in place that prohibited the misuse of its site and then took affirmative steps to enforce those policies through an aggressive federal court action based on two federal statutes designed to protect it and the public against computer crime.
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