Australia’s consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), is taking Facebook’s parent company Meta to court for publishing scam cryptocurrency ads.
The scam ads used fake celebrity endorsements to trick Facebook users into giving money.
The ACCC says Meta’s conduct breached Australian Consumer Law.
The ads in question used the images of celebrities, like TV presenter David Koch, to promote a money-making opportunity using cryptocurrencies. Facebook users were directed to a website with a fake endorsement from the celebrity and an invitation to sign up.
The ACCC says those who signed up were “contacted by scammers who used high-pressure tactics, such as repeated phone calls, to convince users to deposit funds into the fake schemes”.
The ACCC Chair Rod Sims says Meta should be held responsible for publishing the ads.
“Meta should have been doing more to detect and then remove false or misleading ads… Apart from resulting in untold losses to consumers, these ads also damage the reputation of the public figures falsely associated with the ads.”
“In one shocking instance, we are aware of a consumer who lost more than $650,000 due to one of these scams being falsely advertised as an investment opportunity on Facebook. This is disgraceful,” Sims added.
It comes after Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest, who has been featured in crypto ads on Facebook without his consent, announced he had launched criminal proceedings against Facebook over the ads.
In response to Forrest’s U.S. legal action, Facebook argued in court documents that its terms and conditions, which all users (including Forrest) agree to, protect it from liability.