Facebook Faces Lawsuit Over Scammy Zynga Ads

Sacramento law firm files class action suit against Facebook, Zynga

By Jackson West
|  Thursday, Nov 19, 2009  |  Updated 3:00 PM PDT
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Facebook Faces Lawsuit Over Scammy Zynga Ads

Getty Images for Burda Media

Mark Zuckerberg may regret ever letting Mark Pincus play in Facebook's sandbox.

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Sacramento law firm Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff has launched a class action lawsuit against Facebook and Zynga seeking $5 million dollars in damages over misleading advertising promoted by those companies, as promised.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of reports by Silicon Valley business blog TechCrunch which exposed a number of scams in popular Facebook games run by Zynga and other companies, such as FarmVille.

In exchange for virtual currency used to advance in a game, users were asked to sign up for supposedly "free" offers that actually cost them dearly through subscriptions to text message updates and DVD-by-mail services.

The complaint alleges that Zynga has made from $33 million to $84 million a year by promoting these scams, with Facebook also making a cut through advertisements placed by companies like Zynga that create games and applications.

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus once reveled in obtaining revenue from scammy companies when getting his startup off the ground -- and footage of him saying as much to young entrepreneurs will likely be used as evidence in the case against his company.

Facebook has emerged victorious in a number of lawsuits against spammers who abused the site, but the tables are now turned, and it will have to defend its practice of allowing companies to perpetrate scams.

Jackson West knew there was a reason he didn't approve your request to make him a zombie.

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