Australia announced on Friday that it was suing Meter, the owner of Facebook, for advertising scams for cryptocurrency schemes that falsely claimed to be authorized by prominent people.
The Australian Consumer Protection Commission has said it has initiated federal court proceedings against Meta Platform for “false, misleading or fraudulent behavior” for violating consumer or securities laws. It accused Meta of failing enough to block scandalous ads for cryptocurrency or monetization schemes, even after being warned by celebrities who were misrepresented by similar ads on Facebook.
Meta has vowed self-defense, saying in a statement that it wants to use the technology to detect and block scam ads. “We don’t want ads that deceive people for money or mislead people on Facebook – they violate our policy and are not good for our community,” said a Meta spokesman. Social media Titan said it had cooperated with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s investigation.
According to the commission, the ads feature well-known Australians, including former New South Wales premier Mike Baird and businessman Dick Smith. But the high-profile personalities featured in the ads never endorsed or endorsed them, it said.
Rod Sims, chair of the commission, said: “In addition to the indescribable damage to consumers, these ads also damage the reputation of the public who are falsely associated with advertising.”
“Meta has failed to take adequate steps to stop fake ads featuring public figures, even after those public figures have reported to Meta that their names and pictures are appearing in celebrity endorsement cryptocurrency scam ads,” he said.
The commission said it was aware of a consumer who lost AUD 650,000 (approximately Rs 36,595,312) in one of the scams falsely advertised as an investment opportunity on Facebook.
“It’s a shame,” Sims said.
Consumer protection authorities said they were seeking an order from the court, including payment of orders, fines and legal costs.
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