Facebook, the popular social networking site could be forced to close next week throwing thousands of addicted fans into chaos as a long-running legal dispute comes to an end.

The case, which has been running for over 3 years, is between Facebook and rival social networking site ConnectU.

A decision, which is due on Wednesday 25 July in a federal court in the US, will determine whether Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg copied the code for the network from three fellow Harvard students.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra claim Zuckerberg took the source code and business plan to their site while he was a programmer for their site before using them to launch Facebook in 2003.

Looking for ultimate payback, ConnectU have demanded that the court shut down Facebook and of course transfer all its assets to them, plus damages.

In the usual "If you sue me, I'll suit you" way, Facebook has retaliated by filing its own suit against ConnectU accusing it of unfair business practices.

In related Facebook news, unconfirmed rumours online suggest Microsoft is the latest player interested in snapping up the fast growing social networking site, even though advertisers are suggesting that click through rates on adverts are some of the poorest since online. Reports suggest anywhere up to a mind boggling £3 billion.