August 10, 2022

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has filed suit against The Artist Formerly Known As Facebook over its publication of ads allegedly featuring celebrities peddling a supposedly surefire-route to cryptocurrency riches.

The regulator has gone after Meta under Oz consumer law that prohibits false, misleading, or deceptive conduct, and under investment laws.

The ads in question featured celebs, TV hosts, and politicians seemingly hyping up cryptocurrency and other money-making schemes. None of the people depicted had given permission, and the ads were fraudulent, we’re told. Those unlucky enough to fall for the fake ads were contacted by scammers that the ACCC claimed “used high pressure tactics, such as repeated phone calls, to convince users to deposit funds into the fake schemes.”

The regulator alleges Facebook (as it was then) knew about the situation and was even alerted by some of the public figures falsely depicted as fronting the scheme, but still did not act to stop the ads appearing.

One victim lost AU$650,000 ($480,000) to the scam, the regulator said.

“We allege that the technology of Meta enabled these ads to be targeted to…

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