The Australian Consumer and Competition Agency (ACCC) has launched federal lawsuits against Facebook’s parent company Meta. The social network operator is accused of spreading misleading and fraudulent advertisements (scam) showing Australian celebrities. Unbeknownst to them, celebrities were used to encourage Facebook users to invest in cryptocurrencies.
Meta is also accused of having supported and favored the false or misleading representation of testimonies, or that he knowingly participated in it. The ACCC claims that this behavior is in violation of the Australian Consumer Protection Act or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act (ASIC Act) – ASIC is the Australian agency that oversees financial service providers.
Coercion over the phone
According to the announcement, Facebook users may have been tempted to invest in cryptocurrency due to advertisements made by well-known people. The applicants, who the Anti-Corruption and Accountability Commission said included former politician and investment banker Mike Bird, were inadvertently used and did not approve or endorse the ads. According to media reports, Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman are also present He was among the celebrities.
A link embedded in the social network’s ads allegedly took Facebook users to a fake website where it called fake quotes from prominent advertisers for a scheme to make money with cryptocurrency. Users are said to have been asked to register on the fake website and then asked to deposit money over the phone – also through repeated contact by the scammers. Thus, the consumer lost 650,000 US dollars (about 588 thousand euros).
In this case, Meta is accused of realizing that the cryptocurrency ads were a hoax but not taking enough steps to solve the problem. Not even after the degree holders publicly complained that their names and photos had been used without their consent.
Facebook Algorithms Under Criticism
In 2018, Facebook lifted its general ad ban for cryptocurrencies. It was said at the time that the company would first check whether the announced offerings of Bitcoin and Co. “Safe and legal.” Last year, the US Competition and Consumer Protection Agency (FTC) warned of misleading advertisements and recommendations online and threatened more than 700 companies with fines of up to 38,000 euros per individual case.
“Using Facebook’s algorithms to target users who are most likely to click on a link is an important part of Meta’s business,” ACCC report continues“Big profits for Facebook.”
Through the lawsuit, the ACCC intends to obtain orders, clarifications, and other requirements in addition to penalties. A €17 million fine was recently imposed on Meta by the Irish data protection authority because Facebook was unable to prove its data protection measures.