Meta (Facebook) Sued For Displaying Fraudulent Crypto Ads

Meta (formerly called Facebook) receives tremendous backlash for several data breaches and user data vulnerability that take place in Facebook social media platform. Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has sued Facebook for having allegedly allowed fraudulent ads on Facebook. The advertisement showed images of celebrities, and politicians promoting cryptocurrencies as a confirmed way to become rich.

None of the celebrities and personalities from the ads was in any way associated with the ads or the company. The images were used without their permission in an unethical way. Facebook users who clicked on the links were asked to provide their contact details. Users were disturbed repeatedly over telephone and the scamsters tried to convince them to pay money. While some people got alerted, there are people who reportedly lost thousands of dollars in the scam, with one person losing as high as 650,000 AUD (~$480,000).

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said the following:

“We allege that the technology of Meta enabled these ads to be targeted to users most likely to engage with the ads, that Meta assured its users it would detect and prevent spam and promote safety on Facebook, but it failed to prevent the publication of other similar celebrity endorsement cryptocurrency scam ads on its pages or warn users.

The essence of our case is that Meta is responsible for these ads that it publishes on its platform. It is a key part of Meta’s business to enable advertisers to target users who are most likely to click on the link in an ad to visit the ad’s landing page, using Facebook algorithms. Those visits to landing pages from ads generate substantial revenue for Facebook.

Meta should have been doing more to detect and then remove false or misleading ads on Facebook, to prevent consumers from falling victim to ruthless scammers.”

In response to the allegations, Meta mentioned that their intention is not to mislead people and extort money by unfair means. They have in-built algorithm to detect scam advertisements. Thus, they will be talking with ACCC and defend the proceedings. This is what they said:

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. We use technology to detect and block scam ads and work to get ahead of scammers’ attempts to evade our detection systems. We’ve cooperated with the ACCC’s investigation into this matter to date. We will review the recent filing by the ACCC and intend to defend the proceedings. We are unable to comment further on the detail of the case as it is before the Federal Court.

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