Facebook filed a complaint last Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against New Jersey man Christopher Peter Tarquini, whom the social network accused of being a “recidivist” spammer behind messages that claim to direct users to pornographic images and videos of celebrities, including a fake sex tape featuring Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, Sophos’ Naked Security blog reported.
Tarquini was accused of designing software scripts that tricked Facebook users into surrendering their login information, after which their accounts were hijacked and used to repost the posts that tricked the users in the first place, sharing them with friends, and leading to the collection of the login information of more and more users, Naked Security reported.
Victims’ browsers were also redirected to third-party websites, and Tarquini and his associates were paid for the traffic they generated, according to Naked Security.
Facebook said in the complaint, as reported by Naked Security, that it spent thousands of dollars to zero in on Tarquini and halt the scam, but even after the company sent Tarquini a cease-and-desist letter in March 2013, revoked his permission to use its services or platform, and disabled his account and applications, he continued his actions.
Violations of Facebook’s terms of service that Tarquini is accused of include:
- Posting pornographic content.
- Collecting users’ information without their consent.
- Using Facebook to do anything unlawful or misleading.
- Creating a new account after a prior account has been disabled.
- Soliciting login information or accessing somebody else’s account.
Facebook said in its complaint that Tarquini responded to its March letter, admitted to creating the script that was used in the Bieber/Gomez spam campaign, admitted distributing the script to associates, and admitted that users were being directed to non-Facebook websites.
However, Naked Security reported, Tarquini then created a new Facebook application, Fly Photo Editor, which violated the social network’s terms of service by serving unauthorized third-party ads. When the app was shut down, Facebook said in the complaint, Tarquini simply created another one.
According to Naked Security, Tarquini faces charges of breach of contract and violations of state and federal computer laws.
Readers: Have you ever been a victim of a similar scam on Facebook?
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