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Facebook sues men for allegedly phishing, spamming

Facebook's latest lawsuit accuses three men of getting access to Facebook user accounts by phishing and then sending spam from their accounts.

Facebook has sued three men, alleging they used phishing techniques to get access to Facebook user accounts and then sent spam from the compromised accounts.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in San Jose, California, and named as defendants Jeremi Fisher, Philip Porembski, Ryan Shimeall and the companies associated with them, Choko Systems, Harm, and iMedia Online Services, according to a Facebook statement late on Tuesday. The defendants could not be reached for comment.

The defendants are accused of launching at least four spam campaigns over the last couple of years, the latest in the last three months being responsible for nearly three-fourth of all spam on the site, according to the suit. The latest "escalated attack" included spam offering a colon cleanser, fake messages purporting to show a video of the recipient and offers for recipients to make money through a fake "Google Campaign." Clicking on the spam typically sends a user through various marketing sites before landing them on a page that prompts for their Facebook log in information.

It is unclear exactly how Facebook user log in information, used to send spam to friends, was obtained.

Facebook has spent $5,000 combating the spam, according to the suit.

The lawsuit makes claims under the Can-Spam (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the California Anti-Phishing Act and the California Computer Data Access and Fraud Act, according to Facebook.

This is the latest legal action the social networking site has taken related to spam. In October, Facebook was awarded $711 million in a judgment Thursday against self-described "spam king" Sanford Wallace.

The largest judgment ever under the Can-Spam Act was an $873 million award Facebook won in November 2008 against Adam Guerbuez, of Montreal, and his company, Atlantis Blue Capital.

Updated December 16 at 7:55 a.m. PST with details from the lawsuit.