Australia Sues Facebook for Allowing Scam Ads Impersonating Celebrities

Australia announced Friday it is suing Facebook owner Meta over scam adverts for cryptocurrency schemes that falsely claimed to be endorsed by prominent figures.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said the ads in question used Facebook’s algorithms to target susceptible users and featured bogus quotes by Australian celebrities.

“The essence of our case is that Meta is responsible for these ads that it publishes on its platform,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said on Friday.

ACCC accused Meta of failing to do enough to stop scam ads even after being alerted about fake ads.

“Meta failed to take sufficient steps to stop fake ads featuring public figures, even after those public figures reported to Meta that their name and image were being featured in celebrity endorsement cryptocurrency scam ads,” Sims said.

Meta said it sought to stop scam ads by using technology to detect and block them.

“We don’t want ads seeking to scam people out of money or mislead people on Facebook — they violate our policies and are not good for our community,” a Meta spokesperson said.

The Facebook spokesperson also said it had cooperated with the ACCC.

The consumer protection authority said it was seeking orders from the court like injunctions, penalties, and the payment of legal costs.

Meta, which also owns Instagram and Whatsapp, made $115bn in global advertising revenue in 2021.


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