Australian Regulator Sues Meta Over Fake Crypto Ads on Facebook

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has filed a lawsuit against technology firm Meta Platforms for allowing advertisements of false crypto schemes on its social media platform, Facebook.

Australian Regulator Sues Meta

In a Friday statement on their website, the ACCC alleged that Meta failed to prevent scammers from using Facebook to promote ads that encouraged people to invest in fake cryptocurrency schemes.

The Australian watchdog claimed that people were further tricked into making investments since these advertisements featured the names and images of popular people in Australia.

The ads were said to contain links that directed Facebook users to a fake media article that included quotes attributed to public figures featured in the ads, deceiving people into thinking that the celebrities in question approved of the false schemes.  

Users were then invited to sign up. Those who did were said to have been contacted by scammers who pressured them through repeated phone calls, convincing them to invest their funds into dubious crypto schemes.

ACCC: Meta Violated Australian Law 

The ACCC purported that Meta knew that these celebrity endorsement cryptocurrency scam advertisements were being displayed on Facebook. The tech company however failed to take sufficient steps to address the issue, even after it received reports of the incident from some of the celebrities that were wrongly featured in the ads.

“…Meta is responsible for these ads that it publishes on its platform…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…Apart from resulting in untold losses to consumers, these ads also damage the reputation of the public figures falsely associated with the ads,” the ACCC said.

According to the regulator, Meta has violated the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act (ASIC Act), hence the reason for the lawsuit.

Not the First Time

This is not the first time Meta will be sued for an issue of this nature.

Recall that in 2019, when the company was still branded as Facebook, a Dutch court ordered the firm to remove Bitcoin-related false ads from its social media platform.

The verdict was the result of a lawsuit filed by John de Mol, a Dutch media tycoon and television producer, against the company for its failure to respond to several requests to remove false Bitcoin ads that wrongly used his image and those of other celebrities.

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