Facebook Gets Sued for Not Addressing Crypto Scam Ads That Falsely Use a Finance Guru’s Name

Facebook is ignoring a complaint over crypto scammers posting ads that use names and faces without the person’s consent, alleges a lawsuit filed against it.

Tedra DeSue,
3 hrs ago


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Fed up with what he calls Facebook’s refusal to address scammers who’ve use his name and face to carry out their schemes, personal finance guru Martin Lewis has hit the social media company with a lawsuit.

Let’s get right to it.

Did Facebook drop the ball again?

You likely heard about Facebook’s data scandal, data mishandling, or whatever you want to call it that caused all kinds of commentary about privacy issues. We detailed how Blockchain could have helped the social media platform avoid these issues.

Now Facebook is dealing with a whole new set of issues related to if they truly have the best interests of their subscribers at the top of mind.

Martin Lewis charges that Facebook published more than 50 cryptocurrency ads that falsely used his name and face. Called adverts, Lewis says many of the ads show his face next to endorsements that he says he never made.

On the site he founded, Money Saving Expert, Lewis blogged about suing Facebook to try and stop “all the disgusting repeated fake adverts from scammers it refuses to stop publishing with my picture, name and reputation.”

He wrote:

The most prevalent are get-rich-quick schemes currently titled ‘Bitcoin code’ or ‘Cloud Trader’, which are fronts for binary trading firms based outside the EU. Binary trading is a financially dangerous, near-certain money-loser, which the regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) strongly warns against.

Requests are to no avail

To BBC, Lewis said:

"I do not appear in adverts, full-stop - no company pays me to do an advert. I have made this clear to Facebook - any ad with me in it is fake. They are the facial recognition experts; they should be able to spot when they are being paid. This isn't a post in a forum, they are being paid and these adverts are pushed out to millions of people."

Lewis notes these ads are regularly seen, likely by millions of people, in the U.K.

Lewis claims he’s told Facebook that he doesn’t even do adverts, so any ad with his picture or name in it is being posted without his permission. Despite requests to the company to not publish them, or at least to check their legitimacy with him before publishing, Facebook keeps doing it.

This has infuriated Lewis.

“Enough is enough. I’ve been fighting for over a year to stop Facebook letting scammers use my name and face to rip off vulnerable people – yet it continues. I feel sick each time I hear of another victim.”

Lewis even brought up the many high-tech tools Facebook has at its disposal, which should be able to catch such abuses of its platform.

“This shouldn’t be difficult – after all, it’s a leader in face and text recognition. Yet it simply continues to repeatedly publish these adverts and then relies on me to report them, once the damage has been done.

Just take responsibility

In his blog, he wrote:

“Even when they are reported, many have been left up for days or weeks. And finally, when they are taken down the scammers just launch a new, nearly identical campaign very soon afterwards and the whole rigmarole starts again.”

Lewis doesn’t believe that he’s the only public figure this has happened to. In response to these scammers, he wants Facebook to take responsibility for allowing the scammers to infiltrate the platform with their misdeeds.

He wrote:

“It claims to be a platform not a publisher – yet this isn’t just a post on a web forum, it is being paid to publish, promulgate and promote what are often fraudulent enterprises. My hope is this lawsuit will force it to change its system. Nothing else has worked. People need protection.”

One interesting point about this entire situation is that Lewis still has his pages up on Facebook. These include MoneySavingExpert.com, and his own Martin Lewis page.