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Trouble Is Brewing In Australia For Meta And Facebook Over Scammy Crypto Ads

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is under investigation by the Australian consumer and competition watchdog. The organization has taken issue with several fraudulent cryptocurrency advertisements running on the Facebook platform. Additionally, the social media giant faces a lawsuit from billionaire Andrew Forrest. 

Meta Isn’t In A Good Place

After a decade of dominating the social media landscape, things are slowly apart for Meta and the Facebook platform. After selling its Diem stablecoin project last week, the company now faces regulatory scrutiny by the ACCC. In addition, Facebook has been home to numerous fraudulent and Ponzi-like cryptocurrency advertisements for multiple years now. The company’s lackadaisical approach to these activities is now coming back to haunt parent company Meta.

Per the ACCC, Meta allowed nefarious individuals to breach Australian consumer law and defraud victims for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The investigation into Meta is still ongoing but seems to have a few similarities for other legal trouble affecting the company. Billionaire Andrew Forrest wants to pursue criminal action against Facebook and its parent company for serving crypto scam advertisements and fake articles using Forrest’s name and photo.

Although the ACCC investigation focuses on different legal matters, the nefarious crypto ads on Facebook remain a talking point. It has been an issue for years, with Facebook – and Meta – taking little or no action. Depending on the outcome of this investigation, Meta may find itself in serious legal trouble. Misleading consumers and letting scammers reach potential victims is a serious problem. 

In addition, the claim by Forrest indicates Meta has violated Australian money-laundering laws. Furthermore, their behavior can be classified as “criminally reckless”. The case by Forrest will be brought to the West Australia Magistrates Court in late March 2022. 

An Ongoing Tussle With Australian Regulators

It is not the first time Facebook – or Meta – faces issues in Australia, In 2020, the ASIC warned the company about allowing fake celebrity-endorsed crypto ads. Those advertisements featured prominent Australian celebrities, including Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. It is a common tactic among scammers, as celebrities lend more “credibility” to these advertisements. Crafting fake testimonials without their consent is a criminal offense, though. 

The big question is whether any of this will make a difference. Filing lawsuits or even fining Facebook and Meta sends a strong signal but has no lasting impact. Companies te size of Meta will shrug it of, say they will do better, and making little or no changes to address these problems. 

JP Buntinx
JP Buntinx
JP Buntinx is passionate about cryptocurrencies, fintech, blockchain, and finance. He currently resides in Belgium.
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