Facebook is suing Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook is suing Mark Zuckerberg

Summary: Israeli entrepreneur Rotem Guez has legally changed his name to Mark Zuckerberg. It's his latest response to a legal battle he's fighting with the social networking giant over his Like Store.

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Facebook is suing Mark Zuckerberg. No, I'm not talking about Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. I'm talking about Rotem Guez, an Israeli entrepreneur who reportedly changed his name to Mark Zuckerberg after Facebook hit him with a lawsuit. "If you want to sue me, you're going to have to sue Mark Zuckerberg," Guez reportedly told Facebook. Talk about a publicity stunt.

Guez is currently in a legal dispute with Facebook. As you can see in the video above (via HolesNet), which looks like it was filmed by Guez himself, the man has legally changed his name to Mark Zuckerberg. It appears his main goal is to see if Facebook will continue to threaten and sue Mark Zuckerberg in spite of the publicity. He thinks he stands more of a chance as a Zuckerberg than a Guez.

The name change is only a recent episode as part of a much bigger saga. It all started when Guez launched Like Store, which sells advertisers Likes for their Pages. Like Store promises to give companies a boost in traffic by offering Facebook users free content only if the Like a given company's Page. Since this is in violation of Facebook's terms of service (TOS, or Statement of Rights and Responsibilities), the social networking giant wants to shut it down. Guez has acknowledged that the Like Store violates Facebook's TOS but he claims many US companies offer similar services.

On January 29, 2011, Guez sued Facebook. The lawsuit was actually filed against Nana10 MASA, Facebook's local affiliate in Israel. He said Facebook was unwilling to return his Facebook profile for no "apparent, legitimate reason." Facebook had kicked him off the service for selling Likes and creating fake accounts.

On September 1, 2011, Facebook's law firm Perkins Coie responded with a cease and desist statement, claiming that Guez and his Like Store violated Facebook's TOS by selling Likes to advertisers. Facebook disabled his profiles and Pages, revoked his license to use the site, demanded that Guez close his company and never access Facebook's services again. It appears Guez never responded to Facebook, but he did do something in response.

On December 7, 2011, Guez went to the Ministry of Home Affairs to change his name in his passport and on his identification to Mark Zuckerberg. Someone (it's not clear if it's Guez or someone else) then launched a Facebook Page, which at the time of writing has over 3,000 Likes and the following description:

This is the true story of Israeli entrepreneur Mr. Rotem Guez, Co-Founder of 'Like Store', an international social marketing company, who got a threat of a lawsuit from facebook and changed his name to Mark Zuckerberg.

On December 14, 2011, just one week after Guez changed his name, Facebook again threatened him with a lawsuit. Guez had apparently created a Facebook profile with the name Mark Zuckerberg, but Facebook disabled that account as well.

In the first letter, Perkins-Coie requested that Guez comply with its demands by September 5, 2011. In the second letter, the law firm extended the deadline to December 19, 2011. In both cases, the letters demanded of Geuz to "confirm that you, your agents, your employees, your affiliates, and/or anyone acting on your behalf (collectively, You or Your)":

  1. Have stopped and will not in the future access Facebook's site, services, platform, or network for any reason whatsoever.
  2. Have stopped and will refrain from developing, promoting, selling, offering, and/or using websites or applications, including but not limited to www.like-store.info and i-share.co.il, that sell "Likes," incentive Facebook users to "like" any page or website or to use Facebook social channels.
  3. Have stopped and will not in the future mislead Facebook users; and
  4. Have removed references to Facebook from any websites or other promotional material that You control, including but not limited to www.like-store.info and i-share.co.il.

There are other people in the world named Mark Zuckerberg, of course, but Guez appears to be the first who wasn't born with the name. It's almost ironic that Facebook has such a strict real name policy. There have been various similar name stories regarding Facebook (see links below), but I have to say, this one takes the cake.

Update: "Protecting the people who use Facebook is a top priority and we will take action against those who violate our terms," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

See also:

Topic: Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

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18 comments
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  • RE: Facebook is suing Mark Zuckerberg

    Good! I hate FB but sue the hell out of him! He deserves it!
    Bates_
    • RE: Facebook is suing Mark Zuckerberg

      @Bates_

      Why? The man has a point, numerous other companies do the same stuff that he was doing and TOS or no TOS, it's not illegal. In fact, he could argue that those stipulations in the TOS are illegal in and of themselves by United States law.
      Lerianis10
      • RE: Facebook is suing Mark Zuckerberg

        @Lerianis10
        if it is in facebook's TOS and you agree to them when you sign up to use Facebook, then you also agree to comply with it. Since when do YOU have a right to dictate what you think is right as ok? Are you that entitled that oral and written contracts are meaningless if you say they are?
        If you don't agree to the TOS, do not use the service, period.
        brad1000
      • RE: Facebook is suing Mark Zuckerberg

        @Lerianis10 <br><br>Um, when you use someone's service you abide by their rules or you get out when asked. If you decide to stick around don't be surprised if the owner uses the law to remove you, and charge you for the time and effort of doing so. It's not rocket science is it, I can't understand for the life of me why you think it would be different.

        You're not the kind of chap who turns up to someones party, starts acting like a prick and then refuses to go when asked because "you saw someone else doing it earlier" are you?
        Bozzer
      • Contracts in violation of state or federal law are not enforceable

        so save it with the "you agreed to this" argument.
        baggins_z
      • @Baggins

        Now you see why there are "too many regulations"...
        HypnoToad72
  • I hope this "fake" Mark Zuckerberg loses everything

    "Sure I'm violating Facebook's TOS, but so what?"

    I bet that if someone open "The Like Store", he'd be the first to sue.

    I hope this guy loses everything he has for pulling this stunt.
    William Farrel
    • Mostly agree but you have to admire his audacity.

      @William Farrel

      We should all change our name to Mark Zuckerberg. This is what Mark Z. is recommending; that we all change our names to get away from our on-line issues.
      Bruizer
      • RE: Facebook is suing Mark Zuckerberg

        @Bruizer What are you taking about? What is your MZ # ?

        Signed MZ # 95847
        RelaxWalk
  • Stupid-anyurism

    Is this guy for real? I'm pretty sure "[i]Yeah, but [b]those guys[/b] are doing it, too[/i]" is not a valid legal defense. If you're caught smoking behind the school bike shed, pointing at the kid next to you doesn't exclude you from detention, it's stating the obvious.
    I'm a layman when it comes to these things, but I'm pretty sure that this isn't the case of "[i]Facebook v Everyone Who Solicits Likes[/i]" with Guez representing. It is the case of "[i]Facebook v Rotem Guez[/i]" (I refuse to acknowledge this nutjob's new name as anything of merit).
    This guy has read the TOS and has violated it. I don't see his logic for thinking that others doing it gives him immunity. The fact that he's also doing this for [i]money[/i] and he thinks that is somehow [b]acceptable[/b] just boggles my mind further.
    And his idea to change his name to see if Facebook will "sue Mark Zuckerberg"? My mind hurts from all the stupid. I can't tell if he's a troll or just a moron.

    I think I'm suffering an anyurism from the amount of stupid I'm seeing here. I need to disconnect from the Internet and lay down before I pop another vein. This guy is just daffy.
    Nox13last
    • Actually, it can be a valid legal defense.

      NT
      baggins_z
      • [citation needed]

        @baggins_z I'm assuming that the deliberate lack of citation is a mistake (possibly assuming that we're <i>all</i> fluent in legalese) and not you trying to throw across dubious information to confound a layman like myself. But unless I see a precedent or explanation, I'm inclined to believe that this so-called 'legal defense' is not, as is my original opinion..
        Nox13last
  • RE: Facebook is suing Mark Zuckerberg

    This guy is proof that age != maturity.
    ncgmcpherson
  • Solution kill Facebook

    Then people can start having true human interactions again. I mean paying for likes on your business FB profile is kind of ridiculous when you think about it. Beacause it like fake testimony you see on early morning info-mercials, once consumers know the likes are a sham, the like system will loose its credibility.
    Before face book you called your buddies or family members for advice first. You know they will not lie to you.
    Bakabaka
  • RE: Facebook is suing Mark Zuckerberg

    The cool thing is that under Israeli law, he can't change his name back for seven years...

    http://affiliates.info
    AffiliatesInfo
  • BALLS and brains

    I don't approve of how the guy is using facebook. He is running a scam. Having said that, in this battle, he is out-thinking facebook's legal team. Even if he is found guilty, what damages is he liable for? Won't he then at most just lose his privilege to an account on facebook? <br><br>Either way, if facebook looks like a bully at all in this, they will back off and try to settle quietly. "Facebook suing Mark Zuckerberg" guarantees that.

    Facebook really has stepped into a sticky mess here. I hope the guy gives them a good smackdown, we all learn how to better fight back against litigious media and IP collectors, etc., AND Rotem Guez sells no more Likes.
    shonangreg
    • standing up for the community is not being a bully. taking advantage of the

      community through devious activity is being a bully.
      don't let your hatred of corporations cloud your judgment here.
      just because FB is a big overgrown web page, doesn't mean they don't have a right, and duty, to protect their assets, and the subscribers, from a scammer.
      any company that buys likes should be banned just like buyers of sexual favors are arrested in some places.
      that's not being a bully.
      that's taking proper action to protect the community.

      :)
      .
      wessonjoem@...
  • Catchy Title

    This is what this guy wants, he wants to see news titles where it says Facebook Sues Mark Zuckerberg, because he thinks that will create bad publicity. you all should not give him that win.
    Jimster480