Social networking service uSocial has agreed to stop selling groups of Facebook “friends” to clients after it was given a cease and desist notice by the social network, but has said it will continue selling fans.
Facebook ordered an investigation into the company’s actions in September, but according to uSocial’s founder Leon Hill, the site has now sent a letter to the company claiming it has broken several laws, including illegally accessing the site. But while Hill says the company will no longer sell “friends”, it will continue its business of selling “fans” for marketing purposes.
“We have been dealing with Facebook regarding this matter and we have removed our friend-buying service, though we’re not budging on selling fans,” Hill said in a statement.
“We are well within our legal right to do so and despite the C&D we’re not taking the service down. We’re actually not too worried by this and we’ll be ramping up our Facebook services in the coming weeks,” said Hill.
Facebook has previously warned businesses to avoid growing their profiles by purchasing groups of friends.
“The value of a person that is tricked, coerced or bribed into being a Facebook friend or fan is extremely limited and may actually work against whatever goals the customer is attempting to achieve,” it warned.
It is not the first time Hill has been approached by social networks. Last year he was given a letter by bookmarking site Digg asking him to stop selling “hits” that would make a news item appear on the site’s front page.