Andrew Twiggy Forrest, an Australian billionaire, has alleged that Facebook failed to police false crypto advertisements. The chairman of Fortescue Metals filed a criminal lawsuit against the social media platform’s parent company Meta in a Magistrates Court in Western Australia. He has already launched similar civil proceedings in California, in the US, in September of 2021.
Forrest in the lawsuit, which is filed in Australia, alleges that Facebook has repeatedly failed to remove posts by scammers that used his image to promote crypto investments on the platform since March 2019. He said this shows the company’s failure to prevent or remove ads that constitute criminally reckless behavior. The businessman also said that Facebook failed to create controls or corporate culture to prevent its platform from being used to commit crimes.
Forrest believes he is launching the world-first action on behalf of “everyday Australians” to protect their savings from being swindled away by scams. He expressed concern about innocent Australians being duped through clickbait advertising on social media. Forrest says he wants to ensure that social media companies don’t allow their platforms to be used by criminal syndicates. Social media is part and parcel of life and it’s in the public interest to ensure that fraud on such platforms is removed or significantly reduced.
The initial hearing of this case will be on March 28. Meta has not commented on this case but the company’s spokesperson said they don’t want ads seeking to scam people out of money or mislead people on Facebook. The spokesperson said it was a violation of the company’s policies. Meta takes a multifaceted approach to stop these ads. It works to detect and reject such ads and also blocks advertisers from the platform’s services. In some cases, the company takes legal action to enforce its policies. The spokesperson added that Meta is committed to keeping such people off Facebook.