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Martin Lewis sues Facebook for scam ads

23rd April 2018

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Note: This post has been moved from Latest Picks due to length of extended updates.

UK consumer advocate sues Facebook for defamation over scam ads (cnet.com).

Martin Lewis, fake Facebook ad
“Enough is enough,” [Martin Lewis, founder of UK consumer information site MoneySavingExpert.com] said. “I’ve been fighting for over a year to stop Facebook letting scammers use my name and face to rip off vulnerable people—yet it continues.”

Emphasizing that he does not endorse any products or participate in any advertisements, but that ads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and “sponsored” ads on Yahoo, MSN and Sky Sports News have made it appear that he backs a variety of dodgy products and suspect get-rich-quick schemes often using cloud and Bitcoin buzzwords.

This has resulted in him needing to hire someone just to report such as they appear on Facebook et al. the onus being on him to report such with their system of community moderation unless a nipple is involved, thus leading him to issue High Court proceedings for a campaigning defamation lawsuit against Facebook and will be seeking exemplary damages. And indeed, his solicitor Marlk Lewis from Seddons law firm successfully represented austerity food blogger and activist Jack Monroe in her defamation case against Katie Hopkins’ remarks made on Twitter (thisisnocave.blogspot.co.uk, Mar. 2017) and represented the Dowler family in the phone-hacking case against the News of the World.

Lewis said in his announcement [on his blog on his site] that it’s time-consuming to find and report every ad on Facebook that uses his image, but Facebook could take care of the problem by marshaling its facial recognition technology.

And yet as soon as he reports one another pops up leaving him—or chap or chapess he employs—holding virtual mallet playing scam whack-a-mole. And of course there is the sticky issue that Facebook is now being seen for the revenue generation machine that it is with ads for crates of all sorts of snake oil deliberately targeted to F’bookers also allowing the collections of vast amounts of personal details.

But short of a famous face to pimp, money advice likely summed up in not too flattering terms by consumer advocates such as Lewis are “sponsored” on search engine and news portals daily.

Sponsored “money advice” on MSN portal
Sponsored “money advice” on MSN portal

Meanwhile famous faces more pleasant than Lewis’ find their image being used to all sorts of pimp dubious products and claims all over the ad revenue funded “free” internet.

A word from our sponsors…

A Word From Our Sponsors… MegaGrowGum

Updated 23rd January 2019

Martin Lewis drops lawsuit as Facebook backs scam ads scheme (theguardian.com).

With, along with a donation to Citizens Advice of £2.5m in cash as well as £500,000 of vouchers for the company’s online ad service, F’book seemingly promising a tool making Lewis—or assistant—hold virtual reporting mallet playing scam whack-a-mole redundant and allowing it to duck inconvenient ads regulation again:

The social network will also launch a UK-specific tool that lets British users easily and quickly flag ads they believe to be scams. It will be backed up by a dedicated internal team to handle the reports. It will also proactively investigate trends and find and shut down violating ads.

But with Lewis warning despite F’books impending tool he—or assistant—is still having to hold virtual reporting mallet elsewhere:

Lewis said Facebook was making great strides in tackling scam adverts but other online publishers were not. “Over the last few weeks I have again been plagued by scam adverts. A few of them have been on Facebook and when we’ve told them they’ve taken them down quickly.

“But that’s not the case with Google. There have been ads, and the problem with Google is that the adverts on Google aren’t just on Google, they’re on websites, and they’re on apps. And it’s not just Google, it’s the Yahoo platform.”

And warning “Google and the rest of you” that “online advertising has to stand up and take some responsibility” with seemingly Google not taking his “warning shot across their bows” as seriously and “not even giving us a direct contact, even though I am a major target of scam ads”, but with a Google spokesman saying that they already have a tool with which he, and indeed anyone else, “can report these ads” and a team by whom they are “reviewed manually”. So with tool and team they already seemingly still requiring him to keep on Googling self with virtual reporting mallet handy should he really have faith in F’books promised tool and team?

Updated 16th July 2019

With seemingly a bigger tool, more erect tool replacing the one they already have, indeed being likely another valuable tool for competing Fidiotbook mobility scoooter affiliate advertisers to report each other:

Facebook launches UK reporting tool to clamp down on scam ads (theguardian.com).

The social media company is releasing a scam ads reporting tool, with a specially trained team investigating alerts raised by users, reviewing reports and taking down violating posts to clamp down on potentially misleading adverts.

Seemingly with a “new dedicated team”—likely on a $1 an hour in Manila (nextshark.com, Sept. 2018)—that “will then hopefully respond quickly to ditch the scammers”.

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Tags: Facebook, scam ads.

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