May 26, 2022

Woman holds smartphone with Meta logo in front of a displayed Facebook’s new rebrand logo Meta in this illustration picture taken October 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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March 18 (Reuters) – Australia’s competition watchdog filed a lawsuit against Facebook owner Meta Platforms (FB.O) on Friday, alleging the social media giant failed to prevent scammers using its platform to promote fake ads featuring well-known people.

The advertisements, which endorsed investment in cryptocurrency or money-making schemes, could have misled Facebook users into believing they were promoted by famous Australians, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) said.

The lawsuit filed in the Federal Court also alleges Facebook “aided and abetted or was knowingly concerned in false or misleading conduct and representations by the advertisers,” the ACCC said in a statement.

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“The essence of our case is that Meta is responsible for these ads that it publishes on its platform,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said. “It is alleged that Meta was aware … scam ads were being displayed on Facebook but did not take sufficient steps to address the issue.”

Meta said any ads that scammed people out of money or misled users violated its policies and the company uses technology to detect and block such posts, adding it had “cooperated with the ACCC’s investigation into this matter to…

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