**Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled the company named in this settlement. This has been corrected. We apologize for the error.
California-based online affiliate marketing company Adscend Media LLC has agreed to pay roughly $100K in court costs, in a settlement with The Washington State Attorney General’s office regarding the spamming of Facebook users. Adscend also agreed to stop all the spamming.
Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, along with Facebook, sued Adscend Media founders Jeremy Bash and Fehzan Ali for incorporating a sort of bait-and-switch technique in their ad campaigns on the social network. Users would click on misleading ad content, usually something provocative, only to be forwarded through a series of online hoops leading to commercial websites. Adscend also used a tactic called “likejacking,” to where a user would “like” misleading content, only to inadvertently spread it to a user’s friends. Below is a clip describing these sort of clickjacking tactics:
McKenna stated, “Today’s settlement puts a stop to Adscend’s ‘likejacking’ and other misleading tactics that led Facebook users to fork over personal information or buy subscription services from sites that appeared to be recommended by friends.” Adscend didn’t admit guilt, but agreed to pay the court costs, and that “Adscend-initiated messages should no longer appear to come from Facebook friends, when they actually originate from an affiliate trying to generate a sales commission from a commercial advertiser,” according to Assistant Attorney General Paula Selis, leader of the Consumer Protection High-Tech Unit.
McKenna claimed that Adscend Media was pulling in about $20 million a year via clickjacking scams, a number which Ali called “insanely inaccurate,” adding, “Our total revenues are a fraction of that.”