Australia sues Facebook parent over misleading crypto ads

Australia on Friday announced a lawsuit against Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, for posting misleading ads about cryptocurrencies that appeared to have been wrongly endorsed by prominent figures.

The Australian Consumer Commission has indicated that it has initiated proceedings in federal court against Meta platforms for “misleading conduct” that violates consumer or safety laws.

The regulator is accusing Facebook’s parent company of not doing enough to stop these misleading ads for cryptocurrency or investment programs, even after it received a tip-off from celebrities that their image was inappropriately used on Facebook.

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Meta claimed in a statement that it tried to stop these ads using technology that detects and blocks them.

A spokesperson for the group, who was willing to cooperate with the investigation, said, “We don’t want ads that seek to deceive or confuse people on Facebook. They violate our policy and do not benefit our community.”

According to the commission, famous Australians, such as politicians or ex-businessmen, who never approved or endorsed these products, have appeared in the advertisements.

“In addition to causing immeasurable losses to consumers, these advertisements have also damaged the reputation of public figures wrongly associated with them,” said committee chair Rod Sims.

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The panel noted the case of a consumer who was said to have lost more than $480,000 in a scam promoted as an investment opportunity on Facebook.

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Sims insisted, “Meta failed to take sufficient steps to curb false advertising with public figures, even after these public figures informed Meta that their names and looks supported fraudulent crypto advertising,” Sims insisted.

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