(JERUSALEM) — An Israeli entrepreneur has legally changed his name to Mark Zuckerberg in order to goad the founder of Facebook and his company into suing, thereby raising his own company’s profile.
The man, whose birth name is Rotem Guez, offers a service that sells Facebook “likes,” artificially driving traffic to advertisers on Facebook who buy his service. That is a violation of Facebook’s terms of service, and the company’s lawyers have sent him two cease-and-desist letters.
So Guez, a 32-year-old father of two, walked into Israel’s Interior Ministry two weeks ago to have his name officially changed. He now has the ID and passport to match his new identity — which is identical to that of the founder of the social media giant.
“I just thought it would be funny when they sue Mark Zuckerberg,” the newly-minted Zuckerberg told ABC News. “Facebook against Mark Zuckerberg.”
“The hope is to grow the company, we like to do funny things,” he said. “We’re not really afraid of Facebook.”
Facebook closed Guez’s account after he began selling “likes.” In a letter dated December 14 — posted online by Guez — it said he “may no longer access the Facebook website or use Facebook’s services for any purpose whatsoever.”
Facebook’s lawyers at the Washington law firm Perkins Cole threaten “whatever measures it believes are necessary to enforce [Facebook’s] rights…”
A Facebook spokesperson provided a statement to ABC News: “Protecting the people who use Facebook is a top priority and we will take action against those who violate our terms.”
Guez said his name will now technically be Mark Zuckerberg for at least seven years. After that, he wants to change it back.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Sara Stewart, CNN
Stephanie Elam, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN
Ray Sanchez, Zayn Nabbi, Euan McKirdy and Angela Dewan, CNN