Martin Lewis settles lawsuit against Facebook over scam ads | Business News

4 min


0

Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, has dropped his lawsuit against Facebook for running scam advertisements featuring his name and image.

The entrepreneur had lodged papers against the social media giant in the High Court last year, telling Sky News the legal action was the result of months of frustration with scammers piggybacking on his reputation and preying on Facebook users with get-rich-quick scams.

Mr Lewis, who was given an OBE in 2014, said he was aware of a woman who had lost £100,000 as a result of a bogus advert featuring his face.

At the time, he said: “Enough is enough. It’s about time Facebook took responsibility.

“This is about stopping Facebook facilitating the ripping off of vulnerable people and destroying my reputation at the same time.”



preview image



July: ‘I’ve been a victim of fake news’

On Wednesday, Mr Lewis and Facebook jointly announced a settlement to the defamation action as Facebook donated £3m to set up a Citizens Advice scams action project from and launch a new reporting tool for scam adverts.

The donation will be made up of £2.5m in cash over the next two years, and £500,000 in Facebook advertising credit coupons which will be issued over the next three years.


Mr Lewis told Sky News he received a six-figure sum from Facebook for his costs.

Online investment scams targeting people through social media have stolen increasing amounts of money from victims in recent years – rising in the UK by 400,000% in the last six years alone.

Figures from Action Fraud show the amount lost to “binary options” trading increased from £6,200 in 2012, to £27m in 2017 alone, with the total currently standing at £61m.

Binary options, or fixed-odds betting, are being used by fraudsters as part of a multibillion-pound industry which is believed to be coordinated by overseas criminals.

Facebook has removed over 80 accounts with ties to Iran
Image:
This case may set an uncomfortable practical precedent for Facebook

Analysis by Rowland Manthorpe, technology correspondent

This is an impressive victory for Martin Lewis – but, crucially, it’s not a victory in court.

Facebook has not admitted legal liability. Like everything else on its platform, Facebook insists scam ads are the responsibility of the person who put them there.

But while there is no legal precedent, this case may set an uncomfortable practical precedent for Facebook.

By agreeing to take, as it puts it, “a leadership role”, the social network has accepted some measure of responsibility for the content its users see.

To see how that could make life difficult for Facebook, it’s worth considering a fact that went unmentioned in the cosy press conference held to announce the news.

As well as donating £3m to Citizens Advice, Facebook settled with Martin Lewis for what he says is “a six-figure sum” covering his costs, making it, in his eyes, “a definite win”.

Martin Lewis held a joint news conference with Facebook executive Steve Hatch (L)
Image:
Martin Lewis held a joint news conference with Facebook executive Steve Hatch (L)

Other potential complainants – including, for instance, the victims of these scams, some of whom lost tens of thousands of pounds – will be taking notes.

In the short term, however, Facebook has probably managed to do what it found impossible in 2018 and got out ahead of a problem.

Now the questions will move onto the other half of the online advertising duopoly: Google.

Mr Lewis say the search firm’s ad network is serving scam ads, and complains that “they’re not even giving us a direct contact”.

After today, that probably won’t be the case much longer.


Like it? Share with your friends!

0
DownTheWing

Legend

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format