Social networking site Tagged.com has agreed to destroy email addresses it collected from users who allegedly were duped into sharing their contact lists. The company also promised to provide all U.S. users with a "clear and conspicuous" means to cancel their accounts.
Tagged made the concessions in order to settle a lawsuit about its former registration practices brought in federal district court in San Francisco by California residents Miriam Slater and Sara Golden.
"What Tagged called consumer referrals was really consumer fraud, perpetrated by Tagged," they argued in a motion seeking approval of the settlement. "In the first stage, Tagged orchestrated its registration process to trick consumers into divulging the entire contents of their email address books. In the second stage, Tagged used those email address books to send deceptive invitations that appeared to be from acquaintances offering to share personal photographs."
Slater alleged in a lawsuit filed last August that she received a Tagged email that purported to be from an acquaintance who wanted to share photos. She said she visited the site and provided the company with information, but only because she wanted to view the pictures -- not because she wanted to invite her friends to join her on the site.
Golden alleged that she joined Tagged after receiving an invitation that she thought Slater had sent.
They both argued that Tagged had violated a computer fraud statute, an anti-hacking law.
Tagged promised that it will destroy address book information that was scraped from users who joined the site between April and June, if those users either didn't send any invitations to their contacts or invited all of their contacts to join the site. The company did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
Tagged also agreed to pay Golden and Slater $10,000 each, according to a copy of the proposed settlement filed with U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen.
The company said last July that it changed its registration procedures after receiving an influx of complaints. The consumers' court papers state that Tagged sent more than 60 million allegedly deceptive invitations and follow-up reminders last year between April and June.
Last year, Tagged agreed to pay $750,000 to settle investigations of its marketing procedures by law enforcement officials in New York and Texas.