SAN FRANCISCO—A panel of three federal appellate judges appeared generally skeptical on Wednesday as forgotten social networking startup Power Ventures claimed that the company and its former CEO are not liable for violating an anti-spam and an anti-hacking law. A lower court previously ruled in favor of Facebook, which brought the original case, and issued an award of $3 million to the social network giant.
Back in 2008 when the original suit was filed, Power.com attempted to be a one-stop-shop for all social networks—its users could post to Facebook and other sites all in one place.
But as part of its “Power 100” campaign, Power Ventures offered its customers the chance to win $100 if they invited 100 friends to join. In so doing, Power Ventures sent messages through Facebook that came from @facebookmail.com and appeared to come from “The Facebook Team,” giving the impression that they had come from Facebook itself. Facebook attempted to block this activity through an IP block, which Power Ventures circumvented. When Power Ventures ignored Facebook’s requests to cease-and-desist, Facebook then filed a lawsuit in 2008.
According to Facebook’s original case, Power “is offering a product that solicits, stores, and uses Facebook login information stored on Facebook computers…