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Australia Sues Meta for Running Scam Ads Impersonating Celebrities

Australia Sues Facebook
FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta is placed on laptop keyboard in this illustration taken on November 2, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Australia has filed a lawsuit against Meta, the parent company of Facebook, alleging that it allowed fraudulent ads to target users with phony celebrity endorsements.

According to a regulator, the internet giant could face financial penalties worth millions of dollars for allegedly participating in “false, misleading, or deceptive behavior” by knowingly displaying adverts for bogus cryptocurrencies.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says the adverts in question used Facebook’s algorithms to dupe people and used fake quotes by Australian celebrities.

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says the adverts in question used fake quotes by Australian celebrities and Facebook’s algorithms to dupe people. Some of the celebrities whose identities were used without permission include former New South Wales Premier Mike Baird, prominent TV host David Koch and millionaire entrepreneur Dick Smith.

“The essence of our case is that Meta is responsible for these ads that it publishes on its platform,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement on Friday.

According to the suit filed in the Federal Court of Australi, Meta failed to prevent the scams even after celebrities raised objections regarding the matter.

Read also: Meta Rolls Out Screenshot Alert for Disappearing Messages on Messenger

“In one shocking instance, we are aware of a consumer who lost more than A$650,000 (£360,000; $480,000) due to one of these scams being falsely advertised as an investment opportunity on Facebook. This is disgraceful,” Mr Sims said.

Last month, Australian millionaire Andrew Forrest filed a criminal complaint against Meta for using his image in fraudulent adverts.

While Dr. Forrest accuses the social media network of violating anti-money laundering regulations, the ACCC’s complaint involves suspected violations of consumer law or another regulatory act.

In 2021, Meta, which also owns Instagram and Whatsapp, generated $115 billion in global advertising income.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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