A New Yorker has been arrested and charged with sending spam over instant messaging platforms (known as spim).

Anthony Greco, 18, is accused of sending over 1.5 million spim messages advertising a range of products and services and was arrested under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (Can-Spam).

Greco is alleged to have sent spim from fake accounts he created on the Myspace.com community. According to a statement filed during the case, he then threatened to tell other spammers how to send spim to Myspace if the company did not offer his exclusive marketing rights.

"Spim is a growing problem," said Steve Linford, director of anti-spam lobbyists Spmahaus. "But in comparison with spam its threat is only limited. Although it makes sense that spammers would use these platforms I think people will get a handle on how to combat it quickly."

Linford suggested that instant messaging does not impact on ecomonies in the same way as email does, and therefore the overall impact of spim is lessened.

"Spim is relatively easy to prevent by simply changing the settings on your PC," Linford said. "At the moment it seems to be a solely Microsoft related problem, we've not received any complaints from Apple or Linux users."

The Can-Spam act is increasingly being used to prosecute spammers. This month SC reported that Earthlink has continued its anti-spam campaign with four new lawsuits against alleged spamming outfits.