Facebook is on the cusp of battling yet another lawsuit filed against its name. It is nearly one year ago when the social media giant decided to close down the crypto advertising ban. In a press release published by Facebook Business on 26th June 2018 and authored by Facebook’s product director Rob Leathern, states that,
‘..Starting June 26, we’ll be updating our policy to allow ads that promote cryptocurrency and related content from pre-approved advertisers. But we’ll continue to prohibit ads that promote binary options and initial coin offerings’
The ad control efforts were meant to protect unsuspecting Facebook users from fraudulent financial products and services containing deceptive promotional practices. The control was so effective that it would go on to affect even legitimate Blockchain businesses; that wanted to promote Initial coin offerings and Binary options.
However, crypto scammers have managed to trick the scam-spotting algorithm designed by Facebook to oversight the ad regulatory. According to Billy Bambrough, Bitcoins and Binary options have still appeared on the social network despite strict ad controls.
By altering the wording used in crypto ads, such as avoiding words like ICO and Bitcoin, scammers can slip through the algorithm and promote scams.
John De Mol, the billionaire behind the Local Big Brother Show put the stakes high for Facebook early this month; by claiming Facebook has been using his image without permission. This, he claims is damage to his reputation as a legit business mogul.
A report by Reuters on the 5th of June stated that the advertisement campaign in question allegedly used Mol’s image to promote fake cryptocurrency businesses. By using Mol’s pictures to back evidence of his involvement in the business, the fraudulent advertisements would lure people into exchanging money with fake Bitcoins.
This is not the First time Facebook is facing such allegations. In April, last year-Martin Lewis, the face behind the popular financial advice website, Money Saving Expert issued proceedings to the High Court against Facebook for defamation. The move was meant to halt a crypto campaign that saw the trend of more than 1000 fake ads bearing the name and image of Martin Lewis
Eventually, by the start of 2019, Facebook and Lewis settled the case outside court after Facebook agreed to donate £3m towards anti-scam campaigns and the launch of news scam ads reporting button.
The scale of fake crypto news has been reported to have a huge impact on unsuspecting Blockchain investors. This is especially prevalent when celebrity personalities are featured in promotional campaigns. Most people will most likely attach their trust and unfortunately, end being susceptible to online scams.
Data from CypherTrace claims investors have lost more than $1.2 billion in fraudulent crypto related advertisements by the first quarter of 2019. In fact, it is correct to say that most scammers target Facebook’s audience with sponsored ads for fraudulent Facebook ads.
The tactic employed by most scammers on Facebook involves phishing sensitive data such as credit card information. By setting up a distractive call to action buttons, fake pages, and testimonials, Facebook users become easy prey for such unscrupulous activities.
Some of the investment opportunities are usually inexistent and have malicious intent to deprive investors their hard earned money.
The lawsuit by John De Mol comes amid Facebook’s plan to launch a fiat based stablecoin. The crypto project dubbed, ‘Libra’ will create a future where billions of Facebook users; will be able to transact through social media.
It is important to note that Facebook is not the only social media network to fall prey of crypto scammers. In fact, the scammers seem to have fled from microblogging platform, Twitter after subduing the site with millions of Blockchain scams. Celebrity impersonation of top celebrities such as Katy Perry and Elon Musk has witnessed thousands of investors being scammed through tweets.
Regardless, the only upvote to social media users is to remain vigilant as ever. Over the years, Facebook has witnessed a rough history. This has seen the company struggle to put in place a plethora of measures to help curb fake news, user privacy, and data mining. However, it seems scammers are more persistent to slip through the measures and will not stop any time soon.