Facebook, Washington state target online spam

Jan 27, 2012 By MANUEL VALDES , Associated Press

Facebook is partnering with Washington state to combat a type of spam called "clickjacking" that is plaguing the social networking site, company and state officials announced Thursday.

Two separate lawsuits were filed in in California and Washington state against Delaware-based Adscend Media LLC, which officials say is behind the spamming.

"The way we think about it, security is an arms race," Facebook's general counsel, Ted Ullyot, said alongside Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna at the social media company's Seattle offices. "It's important to stay ahead of spammers and ."

In "clickjacking," links on promising shocking or salacious videos have code embedded in them that spreads the link to the user's page. That makes it seem like the user "liked" the link, with the aim of attracting more clicks from the user's friends. The links eventually lead users to a survey or information from an advertiser.

Adscend Media is spreading spam through misleading and deceptive tactics and has encouraged others to do the same, McKenna's office said.

An email inquiry sent to Adscend was not immediately returned, and an attorney for the company had not yet been listed in federal court records.

are popular targets for spammers because people are more likely to trust and share content that comes from people they know. This makes spam, scams and viruses easy to spread.

Still, Facebook says less than 4 percent of content shared on the site is spam. By comparison, about 74 percent of email is spam, according to security company ., though the bulk of it gets filtered out before reaching someone's inbox.

Facebook has more than 800 million users.

Named in Washington state's lawsuit are Adscend co-owners Jeremy Bash, of West Virginia, and Fehzan Ali, of Texas. The lawsuit says Adscend violated several state laws, as well as the federal CAN-SPAM act, which makes it unlawful to procure or initiate transmission of misleading commercial communication.

McKenna said Adscend has annual revenue of $20 million.

Washington state is the only state partnering with Facebook. The company said it partnered with Washington state because of a history in the state of technology consumer protection.

The attorney general said Washington state has been a leader in technology consumer protection since his predecessor, now Gov. Chris Gregoire, began filing suits against malware and spyware users.

"As spammers adjust their tactics, we adjust ours," McKenna said.

Explore further: Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

3.7 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook appoints director of privacy

Sep 14, 2011

Facebook, which has been dogged by complaints over privacy, announced Tuesday that it has named a director of privacy at the social network.

Spammers target Facebook

Apr 04, 2011

Interested in a free iPad like the one your Facebook friend got by filling out a survey?

Recommended for you

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

2 hours ago

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

16 hours ago

The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Should you be worried about paid editors on Wikipedia?

20 hours ago

Whether you trust it or ignore it, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and accessed by millions of people every day. So would you trust it any more (or even less) if you knew people ...

How much do we really know about privacy on Facebook?

22 hours ago

The recent furore about the Facebook Messenger app has unearthed an interesting question: how far are we willing to allow our privacy to be pushed for our social connections? In the case of the Facebook ...

Philippines makes arrests in online extortion ring

22 hours ago

Philippine police have arrested eight suspected members of an online syndicate accused of blackmailing more than 1,000 Hong Kong and Singapore residents after luring them into exposing themselves in front of webcam, an official ...

Google to help boost Greece's tourism industry

Aug 21, 2014

Internet giant Google will offer management courses to 3,000 tourism businesses on the island of Crete as part of an initiative to promote the sector in Greece, industry union Sete said on Thursday.

User comments : 0