Popular British financial journalist Martin Lewis is set to sue Facebook for defamation, claiming that the social media giant has published over 50 cryptocurrency ads that feature his image and name to publicize cryptocurrency schemes without his consent. Lewis has spent his life advising people on spending money wisely. That the ads on Facebook potentially target those same people, perhaps with the intention of defrauding them, appears unethical on Facebook’s part.
Is Facebook Facilitating Scams?
The popular TV presenter is disgusted beyond endurance with the “disgusting repeated fake adverts from scammers” that use his name to promote crypto projects. Despite his repeated complaints to Facebook, Martin Lewis claims that the Silicon Valley behemoth has failed to address his concerns. This is despite Facebook’s recent decision to ban “deceptive promotional practices” related to cryptocurrency.
On April 22nd, 2018, Lewis tweeted:
PERSONAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Tomorrow AM. I will issue High Court proceedings against Facebook in a campaigning defamation case, as it repeatedly publishes fake Bitcoin code type ads for get-rich-quick scams with my name/pic in.
FULL statement here https://t.co/S4HiOQAShk Do share
— Martin Lewis (@MartinSLewis) April 22, 2018
The money-saving expert stated that the company has failed to prevent crypto scams from being promoted on its platform. In doing so, it has undermined the image of the TV presenter, whose identity has been used by swindlers to target naive investors. Several users on the platform have fallen prey to such schemes.
“It is facilitating scams on a constant basis in a morally repugnant way. If wants to be the champion of moral causes, then he needs to stop its company doing this.”
Martin Lewis Proposes a Not-so-Radical Solution
Lewis does not intend to keep any of the damages he is awarded should he win the case against Facebook. Rather, he intends to donate the money to charities that work to detect and combat such scams.
Despite Facebook’s supposed crypto ad ban, reports suggest that scammers are able to easily dodge AI filters that are put in place to block crypto ads. Most of the scammers promote “get rich quick” schemes to dupe investors. Due to the ongoing crypto hype, many have fallen victim to them.
According to Lewis, Facebook can deploy an already-available solution – the same facial recognition technology it uses to identify users in photos on the platform. The same technology has the potential to stamp out scam advertisements using the images of popular influencers like Martin Lewis. Notwithstanding that proposal, Facebook has employees review ads to ensure they comply with the company’s policies, so there is little excuse for these continued oversights.
With this lawsuit, Facebook’s woes continue. It has recently faced a public backlash over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Earlier this month Dutch cryptocurrency exchange Bitonic joined the so-called #deletefacebook campaign.
Ironically, Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 goal-of-the-year was to “fix Facebook”:
Nearing the end of April, he may be running out of time.
Have your say. Why is Facebook still allowing ads that it set out to ban only recently?
Images via Pxhere