Facebook and Ferrari face California suit over fanpage takeover

Article by Andrew Christian, on October 20, 2014

Father and son Olivier and Sammy Wasem have filed a lawsuit in San Mateo County Superior Court against Facebook and Ferrari S.p.A., alleging that the companies have collaborated to illegally seize control of the fan pages in the social media site. The Wasems and Ferrari are also currently embroiled in a legal battle over their "Ferrari Fan Page" and a “Formula 1 Vision” page.

They are claiming that Ferrari took the fan pages with Facebook's knowledge and substantial assistance. They are also claiming that launching their fan page in June 2008, Ferrari created its own, but wasn’t as popular. They said this prompted Ferrari to ask Facebook to give it administrative control over the Ferrari Fan Page.

Ferrari then contacted the Wasems in March 2009, saying that “legal issues” had forced it to take over administration of their page, according to Automotive News. The Wasems also claim after the Ferrari co-administrator was added sans their permission, the carmaker began negotiating over a partnership to manage the fan page and create a Formula 1 page.

The Wasems said that Facebook notified them in 2012 that they had been reduced as mere content creators. Facebook cut off their access entirely to the fan pages in 2013.

The father and son also claim that when their attorney wrote to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to demand that the Wasems be reinstated as administrators, a lawyer for the carmaker told them that hackers had taken over the Formula 1 page and their rights were restored.

According to the Wasem’s complaint, Facebook deactivated the Formula 1 page after Ferrari complained that it infringed its intellectual property rights.

Additionally, Facebook migrated all its fans to a similar page under Ferrari’s control. The Wasems are seeking at least half the value of the two pages, which they claimed have over 16 million fans and may be valued between $174 and $1,000 per fan in advertising.

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