Facebook is suing seventeen people and a Canadian Internet porn company for allegedly trying to mine the popular social networking site for its users’ personal details.
Facebook alleges that in June servers controlled by the defendants used automated scripts to make more than 200,000 requests for personal information stored on Facebook’s site. The allegations are contained in an amended lawsuit filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California.
The company first filed suit back in June, but amended the complaint this month after obtaining court orders to identify who controlled the servers trying to access its site.
Experts have warned people against publishing too much personal information on social networking sites for fear it could be collected and then abused by fraudsters.
Facebook, one of the most-used social networking sites after MySpace, said the automated scripts caused error messages to be generated, but the company did not say if user information was successfully collected.
Named in the suit is Istra Holdings, which controls SlickCash.com, an affiliate advertising business that offers commissions to Web publishers for referring Internet surfers to its portfolio of adult sites.
It also names Brian Fabian and Josh Raskin, both of whom the suit says work at Istra in Toronto, and Ming Wu of Markham, Ontario, as well as 14 other unidentified people.
Facebook said the hacking attempts cost it at least US$5,000 to investigate. The company has requested a jury trial and is seeking to bar the defendants from accessing its computer systems in the future, in addition to damages.