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Aussie Billionaire Files Criminal Case Against Facebook (Meta) For Posting Illegal Crypto Ads


Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest has filed a criminal case against Facebook in Australia for failing to stop scam ads featuring his image. According to the Australian mining billionaire, this is the first time that Facebook has been prosecuted worldwide. “I’m doing this on behalf of innocent Australians who don’t have the resources to crack down on companies like Facebook,” Forrest said in his lawsuit. Following Forrest’s criminal case, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has reportedly launched an investigation. “While Dr. Forrest regarding advertisements similar to those that the ACCC is investigating, the ACCC’s investigation is separate and concerns different questions of law. The procedure of Dr. Forrest has been brought under the Commonwealth Criminal Code,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims told The Australian. Forrest’s lawsuit Forrest alleged that fake crypto investment ads on Facebook used his image to claim that the mining billionaire endorsed certain investment programs, and it resulted in many people being scammed. According to Forrest’s lawyers, Facebook is “knowingly profiting from this cycle of illegal advertising,” and it amounts to a violation of anti-money laundering laws. They also noted that Forrest had spent thousands of dollars since 2019 when these ads began appearing to distance themselves from the false claims. In an open letter in November 2019, Forrest asked Mark Zuckerberg to stop fake ads on Facebook using his face as endorsement of the crypto investment programs. But there was no noticeable change in social media advertising policies, and celebrity testimonials continued to appear as sponsored posts. However, the Australian financial watchdog warned investors against fake crypto ads and celebrity testimonials. Meta, the parent company of social media giant Facebook, offered clarification without acknowledging Forrest’s lawsuit. It read, “We don’t want ads trying to rip people off money or mislead people on Facebook – they violate our policies and are not good for our community.” Where is the problem? Social media companies often blame “cloaking” for questionable ads to bypass controls. Cloaking is a process that allows scammers to show different content when reviewed by social media filters, while the actual ad shown on the platforms may be different. “I want social media companies to use more of their massive resources and billions of dollars in annual revenue to protect vulnerable people who are being targeted and victimized by these scams,” Forrest said in his lawsuit. “Like Dr. Forrest, we believe that Meta should do more to detect, prevent and remove false or misleading ads from the Facebook platform so that consumers are not misled and scammers cannot reach potential victims,” ​​said Sims of ACCC. Earlier this week, Facebook’s parent company Meta released disappointing fourth-quarter 2021 results, leading to a substantial double-digit price drop in its shares in after-hours trading. Featured Image Courtesy of The West Australia SPECIAL OFFER (Sponsored) Binance Free $100 (Exclusive): Use this link to register and get $100 free and 10% off Binance Futures first month fees (Terms and Conditions). PrimeXBT Special Offer: Use this link to register and enter the POTATO50 code to get 25% off trading fees.
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