Cease & Adapt: Dealer of Facebook friends responds to legal threats

November 18, 2009

Remember Leon Hill, the controversial peddler of Facebook souls?

Not surprisingly, Hill said he has received a letter from Facebook’s lawyers informing him that his service selling Facebook friends ran afoul of the site’s terms of service and possibly a slew of trademark and computer fraud laws.

After some back and forth with the lawyers, Hill said that he has stopped offering one of his two Facebook marketing services and will no longer solicit friends for customers that have standard Facebook accounts. And he’s removed Facebook’s logos from his site.

“If they did want to take me to court over anything I’d probably be screwed, to be honest,” Hill said, citing Facebook’s deep pockets (He may also have been thinking about the $711 million in damages Facebook recently won in an anti-spam case).

But Hill hasn’t been scared away from Facebook entirely. He said that his firm uSocial will continue to sell fans to customers and companies that maintain a so-called Facebook Fan page.

That’s because the job of rounding up fans for a customer’s Facebook Fan page doesn’t actually require logging into their account, as was necessary for customers with personal Facebook pages. Instead it seems, uSocial will rely on a network of partners to solicit fans for customers by offering them the URL for a Facebook Fan page.

Whether Facebook considers the case closed is not entirely clear. Hill says he has not heard back from Facebook since he informed the company of his position a couple of weeks ago.

“Either they’ve given up or they’re trying to get a stronger case against me,” he says.

Facebook said in a statement that it will continue to enforce its policies and to protect the integrity of its site. “We’re pleased uSocial has agreed to comply.”

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We are a British company that used usocial.net to buy 1000 ‘fans’ for a newly created Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/skiingholidays1  ) for around ~£100, more out of curiosity than anything. Despite telling usocial.net that we are UK based, the fans that we gained from them were all American, so while we gained numbers, we diminished our relevance and simply wish we hadn’t bothered. Just a word of warning!