Martin Lewis, a consumer advice and money-saving expert, is lodging a lawsuit against Facebook because the social media network published fake advertisements that has his name and face included in them.
The Guardian, citing Lewis, reported he is looking for damages and is suing for defamation, arguing Facebook did not prevent or move fast enough to remove the advertisements that have hurt his reputation and resulted in victims getting lured into costly financial scams. Lewis said he would donate any money he wins in the lawsuit to charities that fight fraud. He hopes the lawsuit will prompt Facebook to remove scam advertisements from its social media platform.
Lewis is the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com. He said victims were targeted with get rich scam ads related to bitcoin. In one instance, Lewis said a woman spent £100,000 in “a binary trading nightmare” that was connected to his name. The woman was able to recover her money because she paid for it on a credit card.
“I get about five messages a day from people saying, ‘I’ve just seen your bitcoin ad and wanted to check it.’ If that is the number who get through to me, how many more must be just taken in?” Lewis said in the report.
He contends Facebook hasn’t removed the advertisement despite complaints from him. “It is consistent; it is repeated. Other companies such as Outbrain who have run these adverts have taken them down. What is particularly pernicious about Facebook is that it says the onus is on me, so I have spent time and effort and stress repeatedly to have them taken down. It is facilitating scams on a constant basis in a morally repugnant way. If Mark Zuckerberg wants to be the champion of moral causes, then he needs to stop its company doing this,” said Lewis.
Lewis noted in the report that whether he wins or loses doesn’t matter; it’s more about getting the word out that the advertisements are fake and that users shouldn’t trust the ads. In a statement to The Guardian, Facebook said: “We do not allow adverts which are misleading or false on Facebook and have explained to Martin Lewis that he should report any adverts that infringe his rights and they will be removed. We are in direct contact with his team, offering to help and promptly investigating their requests, and only last week confirmed that several adverts and accounts that violated our advertising policies had been taken down.”