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British Campaigner Sues Facebook Over Fake Ads

British campaigner to sue Facebook over fake ads

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Facebook
Facebook unveils new VR headset 'Oculus Quest'. Pixabay

British consumer campaigner Martin Lewis is suing Facebook for defamation after dozens of fake advertisements bearing his name were published on the social media platform.

The founder of MoneySavingExpert.com — a British consumer finance information website — said that at least 50 fake ads bearing his name appeared on the social media platform, causing reputational damage to him, BBC reported late on Sunday.

Lewis is due to lodge court papers at the High Court for a defamation case against Facebook on Monday. He is seeking damages but pledged that the money would go to anti-scam charities, the report noted.

Several advertisements allegedly show his face alongside endorsements that he has not made.

Representational image for Facebook.
Representational image. Pixabay

“These adverts tout schemes with titles such as Bitcoin code and Cloud Trader which, according to Lewis, are fronts for binary trading firms outside the European Union (EU),” BBC said.

Binary trading is a form of financial transaction which British financial regulatory body Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned consumers against.

According to Lewis, a woman had spent 100,000 pounds ($140,000) in “a binary trading nightmare” that had attached his name to its advertising.

“I get about five messages a day from people saying, ‘I’ve just seen your Bitcoin ad and wanted to check it.’ If that is the number who get through to me, how many more must be just taken in?” Lewis was quoted as saying.

Also Read: Facebook introduces new privacy updates for EU users

He said Facebook had failed to stop the adverts despite his complaints and action.

“It is consistent, it is repeated. Other companies who have run these adverts have taken them down. 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 said.

Meanwhile, Facebook said the misleading ads are not allowed and any reported are removed.  IANS

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Facebook To Invest $300Mn In Local News Partnerships, Programs

The idea behind the investments, Brown said, is to look “holistically at how a given publisher can define a business model."

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Facebook, dating
Facebook owned photo-messaging app Instagram already supports the "Unsend" capability VOA

Facebook says it is investing $300 million over the next three years in local news programs, partnerships and other initiatives.

The money will go toward reporting grants for local newsrooms, expanding Facebook’s program to help local newsrooms with subscription business models and investing in nonprofits aimed at supporting local news.

The move comes at a difficult time for the news industry, which is facing falling profits and print readership. Facebook, like Google, has also been partly blamed for the ongoing decline in newspapers’ share of advertising dollars as people and advertisers have moved online.

Facebook, Fake News
A user gets ready to launch Facebook on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017. Facebook has made changes to fight false information, including de-emphasizing proven false stories in people’s feeds so others are less likely to see them. VOA

Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of global news partnerships, acknowledges the company “can’t uninvent the internet,” but says it wants to work with publishers to help them succeed on and off the social network.

“The industry is going through a massive transition that has been underway for a long time,” she said. “None of us have quite figured out ultimately what the future of journalism is going to look like but we want to be part of helping find a solution.”

Facebook has increased its focus on local news in the past year after starting off 2018 with the announcement that it was generally de-emphasizing news stories and videos in people’s feeds on the social network in favor of posts from their friends.

At the same time, though, the company has been cautiously testing out ways to boost local news stories users are interested in and initiatives to support the broader industry. It launched a feature called “Today In” that shows people local news and information , including missing-person alerts, road closures, crime reports and school announcements, expanding it to hundreds of cities around the U.S. and a few in Australia.

Facebook, social media
Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this illustration. VOA

The push to support local news comes as Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, California, tries to shake off its reputation as a hotbed for misinformation and elections-meddling. The company says users have been asking to see more local content that is relevant to them, including news stories as well as community information such as road closings during a snowstorm.

The $300 million investment includes a $5 million grant to the nonprofit Pulitzer Center to launch “Bringing Stories Home,” a fund that will provide local U.S. newsrooms with reporting grants to support coverage of local issues. There’s also a $2 million investment in Report for America as part of a partnership aiming to place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms across the country over the next five years.

The idea behind the investments, Brown said, is to look “holistically at how a given publisher can define a business model. Facebook can’t be the only answer, the only solution — we don’t want the publisher to be dependent on Facebook.”

Also Read: Democratic Lawmakers Further Investigate Russia’s Involvement In U.S. Election

Fran Wills, CEO of the Local Media Consortium, which is receiving $1 million together with the Local Media Association to help their member newsrooms develop new revenue streams, said she is optimistic the investment will help.

“I think they are recognizing that trusted, credible content is of benefit not only to local publishers but to them,” she said. (VOA)