Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]
Facebook is suing Mark Zuckerberg. That sentence makes absolutely no sense right? Right. Except that it just might possibly be true. Sort of. Of course Facebook is not suing it’s own Mark Zuckerberg, but rather another one based in Israel.
According to Israeli site, Holes in the Net, Rotem Guez, an Israeli entrepreneur has legally changed his name to Mark Zuckerberg after being hit with a lawsuit by the social networking giant. Sure, there must be a lot of people who wish they really were Zuckerberg, but Guez isn’t one of them.
It all supposedly started when Rotem Guez took Facebook to court in January 2011 because “they were unwilling to return his ‘hacked’ Facebook profile without any apparent, legitimate reason.”
In September, Facebook responded with a lawsuit of its own. Guez’s (or should we say Zuckerberg’s) site reads:
On September 1, 2011, Facebook, inc. and their law firm ‘Perkins-Coie’, sent Mr. Guez (in return) a revengeful threat of a lawsuit, claiming that Mr. Guez and ‘Like Store’ violated Facebook’s TOS by selling advertisers ‘Fans’ for their ‘Fan Pages’, and stated that only Facebook, Inc. can provide such a service. Facebook, Inc. demanded that Mr. Guez close his company and never access Facebook’s site, services, platform or network for any reason whatsoever.
According to a cease-and-desist letter from Facebook’s legal counsel, Perkins-Coie, Guez’s site violates Facebook’s terms by claiming that it can increase the number of Likes a Facebook page can receive.
The letters from Perkins-Coie requested that Guez comply with their demands, first by September 15, 2011, after which they extended the deadline to December 19, 2011. The demands were that Guez and his affiliates confirm that they:
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.
In December, Guez is said to have legally changed his name to Mark Zuckerberg, without the knowledge of his family or friends, according to Spanish daily El Mundo. And it didn’t happen without what appears to be quite a bit of resistance on the part of Israeli officials, as can be seen in the video below:
One week later, Guez (now officially Zuckerberg – are you confused yet?) received yet another letter from Facebook.
On December 14, 2011, just one week after Mr. Guez officialy became Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, Inc. again sent a threat of a lawsuit, not knowing that this time, they are planning on suing Mark Zuckerberg.
Guez/Zuckerberg currently has, in all irony, a Facebook page up called I’m Mark Zuckerberg which currently has over 3,000 likes, but it remains to be seen whether or not Facebook will take it down.
Both the video and the images posted on Guez’s Facebook page with what he claims are legal documents showing that he is now officially Mark Zuckerberg have not been verified.
The Next Web spoke to Israel-based entrepreneur Benjamin Lang to find out a little bit more about the local reaction to Guez’s decision to legally change his name. While the story has been in the local media, Lang says that it seems to be nothing more than a media stunt, which is hurting Israel in the process.
Lang also pointed to the questionable tactics that Guez used on his website, resorting to spam as a means of increasing Facebook Page likes.
Lang’s outlook for Guez is nothing short of dismal. “All this attention is only hurting him more. I hope that Facebook is able to end this stunt because it’s absolutely ridiculous for everyone.”
We have contacted Facebook’s legal counsel Perkins-Coie for a comment on this story, and are continuing to verify the claims of the newly-minted Mr. Zuckerberg. We will update this story with any information as we receive it.
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