The Australian Competition and Consumer Protection Agency (ACCC) has launched federal court proceedings against Facebook parent company Meta. The social networking site operator has been accused of publishing false and fraudulent advertisements (scams) with Australian celebrities. Unbeknownst to them, celebrities were used to encourage Facebook users to invest in cryptocurrencies.
Meta was further accused of supporting or knowingly engaging in supporting false or misleading representation of evidence. The ACCC alleges that this conduct violates the Australian Consumer Protection Act or the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act (ASIC Act) – an Australian agency that monitors financial service providers.
Persuasion by phone
According to the announcement, Facebook users may have been tempted to invest in cryptocurrencies due to advertising by well-known individuals. The ACCC said the applicants, former politician and investment banker Mike Byrd, were unknowingly used and did not approve or endorse the ads. According to media reports, Hollywood stars include Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. Was among the celebrities.
A link in the social networking site’s ads is said to have led Facebook users to a fake website, where fake quotes from leading advertisers suggest a plan to make money through cryptocurrencies. Users are said to have been asked to register on a fake website and then to deposit money over the phone – and through constant contact with fraudsters. So a consumer loses US $ 650,000 (approximately 588,000 euros).
In this case, Meta was accused of failing to take adequate action to resolve the issue, despite knowing that cryptocurrency ads were scams. Evidence that their names and pictures were used without their permission was not even publicly reported.
Critical Facebook algorithms
In 2018, Facebook lifted the general advertising ban for cryptocurrencies. At the time, it was said that the company would first check whether the advertised offers for Bitcoin and Co were “safe and legitimate”. Last year, the US Competition and Consumer Protection Agency (FTC) warned against false online advertising and recommendations and threatened to fine more than 700 companies with up to 38,000 euros for personal litigation.
“Using Facebook’s algorithms to target users who can click the link is an important part of meta’s business.” The ACCC report continues“It generates significant revenue for Facebook.”
Through litigation, the ACCC seeks injunctions, explanations and other requirements in addition to penalties. Meta was recently fined 17 million euros by the Irish Data Protection Authority for failing to prove Facebook’s data protection measures.
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