In a recent court ruling, a Dutch court mandated Facebook to take down a fake Bitcoin ad and hand over the scammers information or be fined $1.2 million – as reported by Reuters on the 11th of November.
The fake Bitcoin ad published the face of a Dutch media billionaire, John De Mol, popularly known for creating the reality show, Big Brother; along with other celebrities.
Prior to the lawsuit, John De Mol, who found out about the fake ad in October 2018, sent several messages to Facebook asking them to take down the ad but Facebook didn’t. De Mol said he has nothing to do with the Bitcoin ad and didn’t give the creators consent to use his image. John de Mol complained that the fake ad lost him up to €1.8 million from investors.
Jacqueline Schaap, De Mol’s lawyer, told Reuters that Facebook’s policy of waiting for users to report issues such as this doesn’t work. She expects Facebook to take more active role in curbing the wrong use of its platform.
Earlier this year in June, de Mol decided to file a lawsuit against the social network.
The court in agreement with Jacqueline Schaap stated that;
Facebook’s arguments that it is just a neutral funnel for information, and therefore cannot be obligated to act is not acceptable. The company plays too active a role with respect to advertisements which form its primary business model, to argue that.
Given that Facebook was nabbed by the US government for the famous Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018 for selling user data to companies for advertisement. Not to mention that the scandal is still haunting Facebook till date as a recent lawsuit was filed by the state of California against the social network two weeks ago.
Facebook, following the court’s ruling, replied that;
This ruling does not change our commitment to fighting these types of ads. We cannot stress enough that these types of ads have absolutely no place on Facebook and we remove them when we find them.
Facebook claimed that the ad has already been removed and is considering legal actions which might include an appeal.
Interestingly, and this doesn’t come as a surprise, this is not the first lawsuit filed against Facebook for a fake crypto-related ad. In 2018, a British journalist, Martin Lewis sued the giant social network for defamation as a result of a crypto-related fake ad.
Earlier in 2018, Facebook prohibited all forms of cryptocurrency-related ads on its platform. However, following the announcement of it Libra project a few months later in 2018, it started allowing cryptocurrency-related ads again. Since then, several fake crypto-related ads, including fake Libra project ads; have come up, with Facebook mostly ignoring them.
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