San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris has announced, social network Tagged, has agreed to pay a fine of $650,000 for sending millions of deceptive emails in a 2009 campaign to boost its membership.
"Whether you're doing business on Main Street or in cyber space, you can't deceive the customer," said District Attorney Harris.
According to the District Attorney's Office, Tagged sent 40-60 million deceptive emails that falsely stated that a member of the social network had sent the recipient a photo or private message. Before the recipient could access the photo or message they were required to register with the site giving Tagged access to the users email contact list. Tagged repeated the process by sending the same misleading email to the recipient's email contacts. Many consumers later learned Tagged had sent bogus emails in their names to all the people in their contact list.
"We cannot in the name of aggressive marketing allow social networking sites and other tech companies to use unfair practices that breech our trust, invade our privacy and tarnish our good names," said DA Harris.
In addition to ordering Tagged to pay $650,000 in penalties and costs, the company must also put in place a set of safeguards for future business practices. Tagged must provide clear disclosures and get the consumer's consent before sending any email in the consumer's name to people in the contact list.