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Legal Watch: Prosecution Over Online Suicide?; Facebook Wins $873 Million Verdict Against Spammer

Suicide streamed online draws legal scrutiny: Will there be legal action over the suicide of a 19-year-old who streamed his death on Justin.TV while some viewers tried to egg him on after he posted his plans on and others tried to save him? Civil lawsuits wouldn’t be surprising but criminal charges are far less likely, even though the definition of “manslaughter” in Florida seems to leave ample room. Police in South Florida are looking at the moderator’s role on Justin.TV and comments on a forum at the bodybuilding site, according to NewsFactor and others. The forum moderator contacted police, who found Abraham Briggs dead nearly 12 hours after he announced his plans online. CNET News has some legal opinions.

Facebook gets $873 million judgment in spam case: It’s not exactly money in the bank but Facebook could score major PR points for its aggressive efforts to stop spammers from misusing the social network. A federal judge in California awarded the company $873 million against a Canadian man, Adam Guerbuez, and Atlantis Blue Capital for “sleazy” unwanted messages to Facebook users, according to Max Kelly, director of security for Facebook. Kelly blogged about the court win: “Does Facebook expect to quickly collect $873 million and share the proceeds in some way with our users? Alas, no. It’s unlikely that Geurbez and Atlantis Blue Capital could ever honor the judgment rendered against them (though we will certainly collect everything we can). But we are confident that this award represents a powerful deterrent to anyone and everyone who would seek to abuse Facebook and its users.” AP: “Court records indicate the alleged spammer, Adam Guerbuez of Montreal, has been difficult to find since Facebook sued him four months ago.”

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