Spam Lawsuit: Can you sue someone for defamation over SPAM accusations?

Can you sue someone for defamation over SPAM accusations
Would a judge and jury consider using the term”spammers” a defamatory act? A new high-profile defamation lawsuit involving Facebook could solidify case law on the issue.

Can you sue someone for defamation over SPAM accusations? In a word: Yes. Point in case, a development business recently slapped Internet mega-corp Facebook with such a claim.

The case is Profile Technology Ltd. et al. v. Facebook Inc. And the ruling will definitively answer: Can you sue someone for defamation over SPAM accusations?

Facebook’s Sued For Allegedly Calling An App Developer “Spammy”

A highly-connected New Zealand app development firm sued Facebook for defamation over accusations of SPAM activity. Profile Technology Ltd. – which makes IQ tests, plus polling and petition apps – says Facebook “abused its power in ways that were fraudulent, oppressive and malicious.” According to the app company, the social media hub cut Profile’s access to data crawling features and insinuated that Profile Technology produced “spammy” and “unsafe” products.

Profile technology swears Facebook unexpectedly pulled its plug after a fruitless contract negotiation.

And here’s where things get a little foggy.

At first, Facebook said it never had an agreement with Profile Technology. For its part, the app company says Facebook “flip-flopped and demanded revisions in the contract terms so drastic that they would have amounted to delivery to Facebook of all rights with respect to plaintiffs’ technology and information.”

Essentially, Profile Technology’s argument is: the abrupt cut-off, coupled with the Facebook’s “dismissal” announcement, cost the company money and respect.  Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that:

  1. Facebook published statements asserting that “links” (HTML hyperlinks) to Plaintiffs’ site at “profileengine.com” have “been blocked for being spammy or unsafe.”
  2. The “spam” accusations “imply that plaintiffs have maliciously abused the world’s shared Internet resources” and that “’Spammy’ conduct merits condemnation and shunning in the Internet community to which plaintiffs belong.”

Profile Technology demanded a jury trial. In addition to defamation, the firm also sued for breach of contract, interference with business relationships, defamation and unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices.

Can You sue someone for defamation over SPAM accusations?

Back in the day, defamation lawsuits involved political name calling and satire spars between preachers and pornographers. But the more tech we get, the more Internet defamation lawsuits arise.

And yes, these days, being labeled a spammer could do serious damage to your business, and thankfully, rulings reflect that fact. But before you threaten to sue someone for defamation over SPAM accusations, review the CAN-SPAM Act to ensure you aren’t, technically, a spammer.

Our team of attorneys has considerable experience with Internet defamation litigation. An AV-rated firm, with a 10-out-of-10 rating on the respected lawyer review website AVVO.com, Kelly / Warner has the legal know-how you need. Contact us today to begin the conversation.