On Friday, Australia’s competition watchdog launched a case against Facebook owner Meta Platforms, alleging that the social media company failed to prevent scammers from promoting fraudulent ads starring celebrities on its platform.
The adverts, which encouraged cryptocurrency or money-making schemes, may have caused Facebook users to believe they were promoted by celebrities, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
According to the ACCC, Facebook “aided and abetted or was knowingly concerned in fraudulent or misleading behavior and representations by the advertisers” according to the lawsuit filed in Federal Court.
“The essence of our argument is that Meta is liable for the advertisements it posts on its platform,” stated ACCC Chair Rod Sims. “It is alleged that Meta was aware that… fraudulent ads were being posted on Facebook but did not take adequate actions to remedy the problem.”
Meta claimed that any adverts that defrauded consumers or misled users were against its principles
And that the firm used technology to detect and block such posts. It also said that it had “cooperated with the ACCC’s investigation into this subject to date.”
“We will evaluate the ACCC’s recent submission and expect to defend the proceedings,” a Meta representative said in an emailed statement, declining to say
According to the ACCC, the adverts featured photographs of many Australian corporate executives, TV hosts, and politicians, as well as links to phony media articles with statements ascribed to the individuals.
Scammers contacted users who had joined up to persuade them to deposit money into the phony schemes, according to the authority.
“We are aware of a consumer who lost over A$650,000 ($480,000) as a result of one of these schemes… “This is a disgrace,” Sims expressed his displeasure.
Last month, Australian iron ore mogul Andrew Forrest, head of Fortescue Metals Group, filed criminal charges against Facebook for scam advertising that used his image to promote cryptocurrency schemes.
Financial fraud accusations are normally handled by the business regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The ACCC said it was given interim powers to initiate the complaint since it is pursuing financial penalties.
Facebook established a program earlier this week to help train Australian political candidates and influencers on cyber security in order to prevent the spread of potential misinformation during the country’s forthcoming federal election campaign.
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