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Facebook Has Been Faced with a Lawsuit Over Using Scam Celebrity Cryptocurrency Ads!

Facebook is accused of running advertisements encouraging individuals to engage in bitcoin and other money-making schemes that were actually scams, resulting in one consumer losing almost $650,000 AUS (£365).

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced the court proceedings against Meta on Friday; the celebrities who appeared in the advertisements “had never approved or endorsed them.” Celebrities are being used by scammers to disseminate their messages. According to the ACCC, the ads Facebook was accused of running in Australia directed “users to a bogus media piece that includes remarks ascribed to the public figure featured in the ad advocating a cryptocurrency or money-making scheme.” “Consumers were then urged to sign up and were approached by scammers who used high-pressure tactics, such as frequent phone calls, to induce users to deposit funds into the phony schemes,” the watchdog noted.

The social media network has been accused of knowing about celebrity endorsement scams on Facebook but failing to do anything to solve the issue. “We don’t want advertising on Facebook seeking to cheat people out of money or mislead people – they violate our regulations and are not helpful for our community,” a Meta spokeswoman said. “We utilize technology to detect and block scam adverts, and we work hard to stay ahead of scammers’ attempts to circumvent our detection systems,” they added.

The MPs proposed that web businesses such as Meta and Google compensate those who were defrauded by scams marketed on their platforms. Instead of paying compensation, the MPs emphasized that the corporations were receiving additional public advertising funds to warn about these scams.

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Social Media Scams Allowing False Acquaintances

You should always be cautious about who you connect with on social media. 

People contacting you as a friend and soliciting money appears to be something that only occurs on American TV shows, but it is surprisingly prevalent. The fraudster may even masquerade as one of your friends or send you a phishing link that leads you to a harmful website.

Downloads of free apps

These apps frequently request personal information from you. An app that appears to be legitimate may, in fact, download malware onto your smartphone. Before downloading new apps, consider whether you trust the provider, conduct research, and avoid third-party app shops.

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Online quizzes promising to reveal your personality type, which celebrity you resemble, or a too-good-to-be-true award contain hidden dangers. They typically include terms and conditions that allow the information you provide to be sold to third parties. It also implies that the app developer can learn a lot about you from your profile, friends, and IP address. Avoid any short quizzes promoted on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

URLs that are hidden

Be wary about clicking on shortened URLs that conceal the entire URL of the webpage. They are fairly frequent on Twitter, and while they may naively take you to the correct site, there is always the possibility that they will redirect you to one that installs malware. Be cautious.

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Facebook Caught in a Court Battle for Aiding Scams

Facebook is an American online social network site owned by Meta Platforms. Facebook was started in 2004 by Harvard University students Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. 

With approximately three billion users as of 2021, Facebook has become the world’s largest social network, with roughly half of that amount using Facebook every day. Menlo Park, California, serves as the company’s headquarters. Facebook is free to use, and the firm makes the majority of its money through advertisements on the platform. New users can establish profiles, post images, join existing groups, and create new ones. Timeline, for example, a place on each user’s profile page where users may submit content and friends can write messages; Status, which allows users to alert friends to their current location or situation; and News Feed, which alerts users of changes to their friends’ profiles and status. 

Users can communicate and send private messages to one another. The Like button, which appears on many other websites, allows users to indicate their support of material on Facebook. Instagram, a photo- and video-sharing social network; Messenger, an instant-messaging application; and WhatsApp, a text-messaging and VoIP service, are also part of Meta Platforms.

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Australia’s consumer watchdog sued Facebook owner Meta for the publication of fraudulent cryptocurrency investment adverts featuring celebrity faces. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) filed a Federal Court complaint against Meta today, saying that they participated in false, misleading, or deceptive conduct by publishing the frauds on its Facebook platform.

The hoax advertisements usually featured a prominent Australian individual, such as mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest or TV personality David Koch. According to the ACCC, Facebook (now Meta) was aware of the schemes. (AAP) When the ads were clicked, they took the viewer to a phony media piece in which a public figure advocated a money-making plan, usually in cryptocurrencies. According to ACCC chair Rod Sims, the watchdog in court plans to say that Meta was aware of the scam adverts on its platform but did not make adequate efforts to have them withdrawn or prevented. In several cases, the advertisements stayed online even after the celebrity erroneously identified in them protested directly to Facebook.

What Happened in This Social Media Scam Case?

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People were conned into investing in different fraudulent schemes or cryptocurrencies by the fake ads shown on Facebook. 

The advertisements, which promoted cryptocurrency investment or money-making schemes, were likely to mislead Facebook users into thinking the advertised schemes were associated with well-known people featured in the advertisements, such as Dick Smith, TV presenter David Koch, and former NSW Premier Mike Baird. The schemes were fraudulent, and the people portrayed in the advertisements had never approved or endorsed them. According to the ACCC, the ads had links that directed Facebook users to a bogus media piece that included remarks ascribed to the public figure featured in the ad advocating a cryptocurrency or money-making scheme.

“The focus of our case is that Meta is liable for the advertisements that it posts on its platform,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims. “Using Facebook algorithms, Meta enables advertisers to target individuals who are most likely to click on a link in an ad and visit the ad’s landing page.” Ad-generated landing page visits provide significant revenue for Facebook.” Meta allegedly knew the celebrity endorsement bitcoin scam advertising was being posted on Facebook but did not take adequate action to solve the issue. Even after popular personalities all around the world complained that their names and photographs had been used in similar ads without their permission, the celebrity endorsement cryptocurrency scam ads were still being featured on Facebook.

Meta technology has failed the people

“We allege that Meta’s technology-enabled these ads to be targeted to users most likely to engage with the ads, that Meta assured its users that it would detect and prevent spam and promote safety on Facebook, but that Meta failed to stop the publication of other celebrity endorsement cryptocurrency scam ads on its pages and warn users,” Mr. Sims said. “Meta should have done more efforts to detect and then remove incorrect or misleading ads on Facebook in order to protect customers from merciless criminals.”

“Aside from causing immeasurable costs to customers, these advertisements also harm the reputations of public figures mistakenly affiliated with the advertisements.” Mr. Sims claimed that “Meta failed to take appropriate efforts to remove fraudulent ads using public personalities, even after those public figures reported to Meta that their name and image were being utilized in celebrity endorsement bitcoin scam ads.” Even after celebrities reported similar fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive ads to Meta, Facebook failed to prohibit the publication of bogus ads.”

“In one alarming case, we are aware of a client who lost more than $650,000 as a result of one of these frauds being falsely offered on Facebook as an investment opportunity.” Mr. Sims described the situation as “disgraceful.” The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, and other relief.

Martin Lewis, the UK-based founder of MoneySavingExpert, previously resolved a case against Facebook for running fake ads with his name and image. Andrew Forrest, an Australian mining mogul, is also suing Facebook in a similar lawsuit. The ACCC further highlights that celebrity endorsement bitcoin scam ads have continued to be featured on Facebook in Australia, despite complaints from public figures around the world that their names and photographs had been used in similar ads without their agreement.

This eventually led to people losing out on more than $600,000

In the United Kingdom, a similar complaint was filed against Facebook in 2018 — when local consumer advice personality Martin Lewis sued the platform for defamation over a flood of scam ads bearing his image and name without his permission, which he claimed were being used to trick and defraud U.K. consumers. 

Lewis settled his lawsuit against Facebook in 2019 after it agreed to make several improvements to its platform on a local level, including the addition of a button to report fraudulent advertisements. (Facebook later made a form for reporting misleading and fraudulent ads available in Australia, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.)

Despite the dismissal of his lawsuit, Lewis continued to battle against scam ads, most recently (and successfully) urging that proposed U.K. Online Safety legislation, which was brought to the country’s parliament yesterday, will be expanded to include scam ads. To incentivize tech titans to comply, the new system will impose fines of up to 10% of global annual turnover.

The Treasury Committee of Parliament has accused the administration of failing to combat an alarming increase in fraud across the country. This scam led to one consumer losing more than $650,000 AUS (£365).

If you have been scammed through online, then contact us to get your money back!

What Can Funds Trace Do in Similar Cases?

Funds Trace is a godsend for victims of these scams; it is an investigative recovery company staffed with industry experts who can investigate your case, gather data and information on your thieves, and assist you in locating your fraudster. 

They don’t stop there; we make sure that the scammer returns the victim’s money in full. Funds Trace offers a fully integrated and functional approach to discovering scammers and recovering stolen assets. Depending on the severity of your fraud case, the entire recovery process could take 1-3 months. If you suspect funds have been taken from your account, their local team will investigate and take legal action on your behalf. They will make the procedure easier for you by filing a dispute and contesting the case on your behalf.

Key Takeaways!

This scam is of utmost importance, and for the sake of your safety, all investment opportunities should be authenticated first; furthermore, The MPs proposed that web businesses such as Meta and Google compensate those who were defrauded by scams marketed on their platforms. 

Instead of paying compensation, the MPs emphasized that the corporations were receiving additional public advertising funds to warn about these frauds. In 2019 and 2021, the Financial Conduct Authority paid more than £1.1 million to businesses such as Google, Twitter, TikTok, and Meta to conduct anti-scam advertisements. Google has since offered the regulator $3 million (£2.2 million) in free advertising credits, a gesture that MPs say should be emulated by other platforms.

If you come across any such advertisements, it is strongly advised that you do not respond, click on links, view attachments, or sign in to their account via a link. Their communication should be terminated, and the officials should be contacted; if you have been scammed and are looking to recover your lost funds, Funds Trace has recovered $120,000 in the last three years with an 80% success rate; there is no need to panic, Funds Trace is always here to handle things for you!

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