The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) instituted Federal Court proceedings against Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) for featuring misleading and deceptive cryptocurrency advertisements. The watchdog informed that one of the victims lost nearly $500,000 due to the fraud.
The ACCC vs. Meta
The Australian regulator vowed to sue Meta for promoting fraudulent investment and money-making schemes involving cryptocurrencies on its platform. The scams appeared to be prompted by well-known people such as Dick Smith, TV personality David Koch, and former politician Mike Baird, who presented digital asset opportunities to users. However, those people had never approved or endorsed similar campaigns.
The ads contained links that took Meta users to a fake media article. Those were then invited to sign up for a money-making scheme involving digital assets. The ACCC insisted that bad actors used high-pressure tactics like numerous phone calls to convince victims to deposit funds into the dubious project.
“The essence of our case is that Meta is responsible for these ads that it publishes on its platform,” Rod Sims – Chair of the watchdog stated.
According to the accusations, Meta was aware of the celebrity endorsement cryptocurrency scam ads. However, it did not take measures to address and prevent the issue:
“Meta should have been doing more to detect and then remove false or misleading ads on Facebook, to prevent consumers from falling victim to ruthless scammers.”
Sims added that the fraudulent scheme resulted not only in damaging the reputation of prominent public figures but also in appalling losses to consumers. In one instance, a victim parted with almost half a million dollars, he outlined.
Aussie Billionaire vs. Meta
Earlier this month, one of the richest men in Australia – Andrew Forrest – filed a criminal case against the social media platform for its failure to stop scam ads featuring his image. The Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group claimed that this was the first time Meta had faced such criminal charges.
Forrest’s case is identical to the aforementioned individuals. Scammers used his image to promote cryptocurrency investment schemes on his behalf, which resulted in numerous conned individuals. Shortly after filing the criminal suit, the ACCC started an investigation.
“While Dr. Forrest’s proceedings concern similar advertisements to those that the ACCC is investigating, the ACCC’s investigation is separate and concerns different questions of law. Dr. Forrest’s proceedings have been brought under the Commonwealth Criminal Code,” Chair Rod Sims asserted.