Australia said on Friday it is suing Facebook owner Meta for fraudulently promoting cryptocurrency schemes that falsely claim to be endorsed by prominent figures.
Australia’s Consumer Protection Commission said it has launched federal court proceedings against meta-platforms for “false, misleading or fraudulent conduct” in violation of consumer or securities laws.
It accused Meta of not doing enough to stop cryptocurrency or money-making scam ads, even after being warned by celebrities who had been misrepresented by similar ads posted on Facebook.
Meta vowed to defend itself, saying in a statement that it has tried to stop fraudulent ads by using technology to detect and block them.
“We don’t want ads aimed at scamming people out of money or misleading people on Facebook — they’re against our policies and aren’t good for our community,” said a Meta spokesperson.
The social media titan said it had cooperated with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s investigation.
According to the commission, the ads featured well-known Australians, including former New South Wales Prime Minister Mike Baird and businessman Dick Smith.
But the high-profile figures featured in the ads never approved or endorsed them, it said.
“Aside from causing untold losses to consumers, these ads also damage the reputations of the public figures who are wrongly associated with the ads,” said Commission Chair Rod Sims.
“Meta has failed to take sufficient steps to stop fake ads featuring public figures, even after those public figures reported to Meta that their name and likeness had been used in cryptocurrency scam ads supporting celebrities,” it said he.
The commission said it was aware of a consumer who lost more than A$650,000 ($480,000) in one of the scams that was falsely promoted as an investment opportunity on Facebook.
“That’s a shame,” Sims said.
The Consumer Protection Agency said it is seeking injunctions, including injunctions, fines and payment of legal costs.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/18/facebook-owner-meta-sued-by-australia-over-scam-crypto-ads/ Facebook owner Meta sued by Australia over fraudulent crypto ads