Martin Lewis, an English financial journalist and “consumer champion,” is suing Facebook for defamation after the site ran ads for cryptocurrency-related “scams” that featured his face. Lewis is also known as “Britain’s Money Saving Expert.”
“Within the last year, the social media site has published over 50 fake Martin Lewis adverts which are regularly seen, likely by millions of people, in the UK,” Lewis said. “The most prevalent are get-rich-quick schemes currently titled ‘Bitcoin Code’ or ‘Cloud Trader’, which are fronts for binary trading firms based outside the EU.”
Binary options trading is a very risky process (especially for novice investors.) UK-based customer review service ‘Which?’ explains that “When you trade binary options, you’re placing a bet on whether the price of a share, stock market or other assets will be above or below a set price in future.” If your bet is correct, you can make massive gains; if you lose, however, you lose it all.
If Successful, the Case Could be a Big Blow to Facebook
According to The Register, Lewis told Facebook that “[he doesn’t] do adverts.”
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“Any ad with my picture or name in is without my permission. I’ve asked it not to publish them, or at least to check their legitimacy with me before publishing,” he said.
“This shouldn’t be difficult – after all, it’s a leader in face and text recognition. Yet it simply continues to repeatedly publish these adverts and then relies on me to report them, once the damage has been done.”
Facebook has maintained its innocence throughout the ordeal, saying that “we do not allow adverts which are misleading or false on Facebook and have explained to Martin Lewis that he should report any adverts that infringe his rights and they will be removed.”
The social media giant has managed to convince lawmakers and law enforcement officials that it is not responsible for what other people choose to post. If Lewis’s case manages to go to trial and win, however, it could be a big blow to Facebook.
The site has taken some responsibility to protect its users from malicious advertisements in the past. As of January 30th, 2018, Facebook chose to remove all cryptocurrency-related advertisements.