Sydney, Australia, 18 Mar The competition regulator in Australia reported Friday that it sued Meta, owner of Facebook, for spreading “misleading” or “false” advertising campaigns that use the image of “public figures” to promote investments in cryptocurrencies.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleges in the complaint filed with the Federal Court of the ocean country that Meta Platforms and Meta Platforms Ireland were “complicit or participated (in the dissemination of campaigns) knowing (that they were) false or misleading conduct and representations of advertisers”, according to its statement.
The ACCC also believes that Meta violates consumer and investment laws by spreading these campaigns to promote investments in cryptocurrencies, which include links to articles with false quotes by Australian public figures who never authorized the use of their image or support such fraud.
As part of this scam, the authors contact Facebook users and use tactics to pressure them and convince them to deposit funds into their fraudulent investment plans.
The ACCC stressed that Meta allows advertisers to use Facebook’s algorithms to target users who are most likely to access the link and visit the landing page.
“Those visits to landing pages from ads generate significant revenue for Facebook,” ACCC President Rod Sims said in the statement, noting that Meta had to take all measures to “detect and remove false or misleading advertising” from its social network.
Meta Platforms, which generates most of its revenue from the sale of advertising spread on its Facebook and Instagram platforms, earned global revenues of $85 billion ($76.5 billion) in 2021, according to the ACCC.
The regulatory body also considered that these actions have not only resulted in losses of thousands of dollars to Facebook users but also damage to the image of public figures who exploited without consent.
Figures from Scamwatch — an ACCC portal that allows Australian consumers to report scams — show that, in 2021, consumers reported losses of A$99 million ($73 million or 67 million euros) to cryptocurrency investment scams.
The ACCC accusation spreads after Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest announced in early February a criminal lawsuit against Facebook for, according to a complaint, allowing the use on this platform of his image for scams. CHIEF