British TV commentator Martin Lewis sues Facebook over 'scam' ads

Martin Lewis suing Facebook over fake ads

Martin Lewis is suing Facebook over claims it has published more than 50 bogus adverts bearing his name, many of which have been used to scam thousands of pounds out of people. By disseminating, and profiting from, adverts that put his name and picture on endorsements for "get-rich-quick" schemes that...

Rival consumer campaign website Which? has said "in most cases [binary trading schemes] are quite simply a fraud", explaining: "When you trade binary options, you're placing a bet on whether the price of a share, stock market or other asset will be above or below a set price in future".

This online investment model, where investors bet on whether the value of an asset will be above or below a set price in the future, more often than not turns out to be a scam, costing United Kingdom investors over £87,000 a day, according to Action Fraud. "Then, even though it's taking their shilling, it takes no responsibility, leaving the burden on someone like me whose image is being ripped off, or on vulnerable people being scammed, to fight it".

"It is not worth Facebook's while improving its systems", Lewis told the Daily Telegraph.

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Martin Lewis, who founded consumer website MoneySavingExpert.com, said the ads were by scammers running "get rich quick" schemes, with titles such as "Bitcoin code" or "Cloud trader". "People need protection", Lewis said in a blog post Monday.

He announced that they will seek "exemplary damages", which will be large enough that Facebook feels the impact and does not write the charge off as a cost of doing business. This shouldn't be hard - after all, it's a leader in face and text recognition. When they are taken down, he said a "nearly identical" advert appears shortly afterwards. "This isn't a post in a forum, they are being paid and these adverts are pushed out to millions of people".

The Advertising Standards Authority has previously upheld Mr Lewis' complaints against false advertising, saying it appeared that the expert had endorsed the services. Yet it simply continues to repeatedly publish these adverts and then relies on me to report them, once the damage has been done.

Facebook says it does not allow "misleading or false" advertisements, and will remove any that are reported to the company.

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The case comes after health secretary Jeremy Hunt accused social media firms, including Facebook, of "turning a blind eye" to their impact on children and demanding they act to cut down on underage use and prevent cyber bullying.

"What is particularly pernicious about Facebook is that it says the onus is on me, so I have spent time and effort and stress repeatedly to have them taken down", he explained.

"We are in direct contact with his team, offering to help and promptly investigating their requests, and only last week confirmed that several adverts and accounts that violated our Advertising Policies had been taken down", the spokesperson continued.

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