Facebook hit with a defamation lawsuit over fake ads
In an interesting twist, Facebook is being sued in the UK for defamation by consumer advice personality, Martin Lewis, who says his face and name have been repeatedly used on fake adverts distributed on the social media giant’s platform.
Lewis, who founded the popular MoneySavingExpert.com tips website, says Facebook has failed to stop the fake ads despite repeat complaints and action on his part, thereby — he contends — tarnishing his reputation and causing victims to be lured into costly scams.
“It is consistent, it is repeated. Other companies such as Outbrain who have run these adverts have taken them down. What is particularly pernicious about Facebook is that it says the onus is on me, so I have spent time and effort and stress repeatedly to have them taken down,” Lewis told The Guardian.
“It is facilitating scams on a constant basis in a morally repugnant way. If Mark Zuckerburg wants to be the champion of moral causes, then he needs to stop its company doing this.”
In a blog post Lewis also argues it should not be difficult for Facebook — “a leader in face and text recognition” — to prevent scammers from misappropriating his image.
“I don’t do adverts. I’ve told Facebook that. Any ad with my picture or name in is without my permission. I’ve asked it not to publish them, or at least to check their legitimacy with me before publishing. This shouldn’t be difficult,” he writes. “Yet it simply continues to repeatedly publish these adverts and then relies on me to report them, once the damage has been done.”
“Enough is enough. I’ve been fighting for over a year to stop Facebook letting scammers use my name and face to rip off vulnerable people – yet it continues. I feel sick each time I hear of another victim being conned because of trust they wrongly thought they were placing in me. One lady had over £100,000 taken from her,” he adds.
Some of the fake ads appear to be related to cryptocurrency scams — linking through to fake news articles promising “revolutionary Bitcoin home-based opportunity”.