Billionaire Andrew Forrest sues Meta over fraudulent crypto ads
- Meta argues he has agreed to their terms and conditions
- Forrest is suing Meta for “aiding and abetting fraud” and “misappropriation of likeness”
- Ads are presented as a news story claiming he made a huge and highly lucrative investment
Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest is suing the social media giant, formerly known as Facebook, for running fraudulent crypto ads bearing his image without his permission, world media reported. In turn, Meta has filed court documents rejecting his claims that they should be held liable, arguing that their terms of service protect them from liability.
As Forrest has an account with the medium, Meta has argued that he had agreed to the company’s terms and conditions.
Aiding and abetting fraud
Forrest filed a lawsuit in the superior court in San Mateo, California, alleging Meta failed to stop scam ads appearing on the platform, which constitutes “aiding and abetting fraud”, “misappropriation of likeness” and “negligent failure to warn”. The ads first appeared almost three years ago, using images of famous people in the regions the publishers were targeting. They are presented as a news story claiming the person has made a huge and highly lucrative investment.
Those who click on the ad are taken to a fake news story with a link to a ‘cryptocurrency investment scheme.’
Loss of reputation
The billionaire has claimed loss of reputation due to the scam. He also asserts Meta published the ads because of how the medium targets users based on interests and location.
The filing states:
Facebook is not simply providing neutral tools for bad actors to carry out fraudulent schemes. Instead, Facebook is utilizing its sophisticated method of collecting data, and then using that data to engage its users for longer periods of time with information, advertisements, and other material, irrespective of what that content is. Facebook is directly involved with developing and enforcing a system that subjects its users to illegal content.
Meta: Liability for third-party content is limited
Meta argues that it is protected by section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act, which limits the liability of websites for third-party content. Their case states:
Specifically, section 4.3 of the TOS makes clear that Facebook is ‘provided ‘as is’’, that Facebook ‘make[s] no guarantees that [the platform] always will be safe, secure, or error-free’, and that Facebook ‘do[es] not control or direct what people and others do or say’ and ‘[is] not responsible for their actions or conduct (whether online or offline) or any content they share (including offensive, inappropriate, obscene, unlawful, and other objectionable content)’.
Forrest’s response is expected today. Meta will then have to respond in March. The hearing will take place in mid-April.