A defendant who created numerous fake profiles on a social networking site in order to send unsolicited commercial e-mail messages is liable in an action brought by the operator of the site for common law fraud and deceit under California law, a district court ruled. In granting the operator's motion for entry of a default judgment, the court found that the defendant misrepresented himself to the social networking site as well as to the other users of the site, that other users were tricked into clicking on links to an adult dating site that were contained in the defendant's e-mails, and that he intended the other users to rely on his misrepresentations that he was a legitimate user of the site. The court found that the operator was injured by the defendant's actions in that server response time was decreased, a higher level of bandwidth was used on the site, the operator was forced to hire additional personnel to monitor and stop spamming by the defendant and others, users and potential users were deterred from using the site, and there was attendant damage to the operator's good will and reputation. The court also sustained the operator's claims under the federal CAN-SPAM Act, the California anti-spam act, and the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Tagged, Inc. v. Does 1 through 10, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5428 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 25, 2010) Download PDF