Billionaire’s suit over scam crypto ads on Meta dismissed in Australia

An Australian mining magnate, Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, has withdrawn a lawsuit against Meta over allegations of fraudulent cryptocurrency advertisements featuring him. These ads reportedly caused significant financial harm to unsuspecting individuals. However, the prosecution argued that there wasn’t enough evidence to support the claim.

In February 2022, Forrest, Australia’s second-wealthiest individual and chairman of Fortescue Metals, took legal action against Meta by personally filing criminal complaints under the Commonwealth Criminal Code Anti-Money Laundering sections. He accused the social media giant of earning revenues from illegal ads, which it allegedly failed to remove despite being aware of their illicit nature. Obtaining approval from the Australian attorney general was a prerequisite for Forrest to initiate this lawsuit.

In a publicly addressed letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta (previously known as Facebook), in November 2019, Forrest requested the removal of deceitful advertisements and forbidden use of his likeness on their platforms, which include Facebook and Instagram.

Meta denied the accusations in December 2023. The representative of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in charge confirmed to Reuters that insufficient proof led to the dismissal of the case, yet declined to provide additional details. In response to The Guardian, Forrest issued a statement saying:

“It shows that Facebook is beyond the laws of Australia, that hardworking Australians are not protected, and that scams will continue to run rampant with no recourse for those who are duped by increasingly sophisticated technology on social media platforms that take no responsibility.”

Meta’s representative assured Reuters that Meta is firmly against fraudulent activities on its sites and remains committed to vigilantly combating scams and safeguarding users.

Billionaire’s suit over scam crypto ads on Meta dismissed in Australia

In June 2022, Forrest brought a civil lawsuit against Meta in the Northern District Court of California, alleging six counts and arguing that Facebook’s self-service advertising tool significantly facilitated the creation of fraudulent ads by scammers. Meta subsequently filed a request to dismiss this case in January.

Billionaire’s suit over scam crypto ads on Meta dismissed in Australia

Since billionaire Forrest took a stand against Meta, deceitful schemes involving his likeness have persisted. In February, Cybertrace discovered counterfeit images of Forrest in Facebook advertisements. (Or: After Forrest’s billionaire status led him to take action against Meta, there have been numerous attempts to use his image in scams, with deep-fake representations found in Facebook ads as early as February.)

On April 4, Google’s holding company, Alphabet, filed a lawsuit against two individuals in China. They are accused of creating fraudulent apps, which were downloaded more than 100,000 times from the platform.

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2024-04-12 19:41