It does not take much to give an entire industry a bad name.
This week, in a U.S. federal court in San Jose, California, Facebook filed three lawsuits alleging violations of its terms and applicable law by defendants attempting to trick people on Facebook into signing up for mobile subscriptions and sending spam to their friends. They are affiliates (now is when you hang your head in shame).
In three separate complaints, Facebook is alleging that Steven Richter, Jason Swan, and Max Bounty, Inc. used Facebook to offer enticing, but non-existent products and services. According to the complaints, the defendants, among other things, represented that in order to qualify for certain fake or deceptive offers, people had to spam their friends, sign up for automatic mobile phone subscription services, or provide other information. If you're thinking to yourself "why didn't I think of that" then keep reading.
Facbeook is claiming that the defendants violated the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicted Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM), and other state and federal laws. That alone is enough to scare you straight.
Facebook has vowed to press on with enforcement and collection efforts against spammers and fraudsters. It's this sort of thing that gives affiliate marketing a very bad name - consider this a dark day for affiliates involved with social media marketing.