Technology

Facebook sues 'spammer' over faked Bieber sex tape links

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Facebook alleges the spammer wrote programs that hijacked user accounts

Facebook launches legal action against an alleged spammer suspected of posting fake links to a supposed sex tape of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez.

Court papers filed in the US allege Christopher Peter Tarquini was behind the faked Facebook messages.

Users who clicked the link in the posts were redirected to sites that allegedly paid Mr Tarquini for hits.

In addition, clicking led to the posts being automatically shared with users' Facebook friends.

In its legal complaints, Facebook calls Mr Tarquini, of New Jersey, a "recidivist" spammer who has spent much of the past five years crafting computer programs that put "deceptive messages, images and links" on the site's pages.

One of the most notorious of the programs involved faked images purporting to take people to a video of actress Selena Gomez with her partner, singer Justin Bieber. Instead the link led to a pop-up message asking for access to a Facebook account that then let an app take control and spam the message out to a person's friends.

Mr Tarquini persisted in targeting the social network even after he was told that his actions violated Facebook's terms - his account was shut down and he was told never to use the site again, the papers state.

Facebook said it had a confession from Mr Tarquini that he had written the program that took over accounts and posted faked links. Now it says it wants to be reimbursed for the cost of clearing up after Mr Tarquini and for the work it has done to track him down. In addition, it wants him banned from ever using Facebook again.

Mr Tarquini has yet to file any legal response to Facebook's claims.

The action against the alleged spammer is the latest in a series of steps Facebook has taken to stem the flow of junk messages passing through the network.

In September, Facebook won a $3m (£1.8m) settlement against a spam company that sent tens of thousands of messages to users.

In addition, in 2009 Facebook was awarded $711m after winning a lawsuit against spammer Sanford Wallace.

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