Spam is an irritation that most of us deal with on a daily basis, and when you're as big as Facebook is, you can do something about it.
Today Montrealer Adam Guerbuez was ordered to pay Facebook $873 million U.S. after the Quebec Superior court upheld a California decision. Facebook sued Mr. Guerbuez and his company Atlantic Blue Capital in 2008 for sending spam messages promoting everything from marijuana use to the benefits of erectile dysfunction treatments.Facebook was awarded $100 in damages and $100 in punitive damages for each of the 4, 366, 386 spam messages sent to users of the social networking site. It goes without saying that the defendant is also prohibited from holding a Facebook account.
Lawyer Eric Potvin's defence was that the damages were too excessive to fall under Quebec jurisdiction, however Justice Lucie Fournier disagreed and upheld the American verdict.
Mr. Guerbuez has now filed for bankruptcy and under Canadian law Facebook will be entitled to collect damages for the next decade. This will essentially turn Adam Guerbuez into a welfare case.
Now I understand that spammers are irritating and Facebook wants to send a message, but this award is beyond excessive. Can all of us who had FB accounts when Zuckerberg claimed he'd never sell our information now sue for invasion? Can we as consumers sue Facebook for spamming us daily?Also, since when does a Canadian court have the obligation to uphold a civil judgment awarded in a foreign nation? Finally, since Facebook would be nothing without its users, are the people who've been spammed going to collect any of the award?
Anyone care to weigh in here?