Facebook Execs Attempt to Kill UK Financial Guru’s Crypto Ads Lawsuit out of Court

  • Facebook executives attended a meeting in the early hours of Wednesday morning in the hopes of averting an embarrassing lawsuit from millionaire Martin Lewis.
  • Mr Lewis is hoping to sue the social media leviathan on the grounds of defamation after scammers used his image in ads for fake bitcoin schemes.

On Wednesday, two Facebook executives joined an early morning meeting to discuss an on-going lawsuit from British millionaire Martin Lewis, who has accused the company of defaming his image following a number of advertisements for bitcoin scams.

Calling in from Facebook’s San Francisco offices at 4:30 am local time, they joined a conference in which Steve Hatch, the vice president of Facebook Northern Europe, was already present. The unnamed executives remained throughout the entirety of the two-hour long consultation, during which attempts were made to reach an out-of-court settlement with the British consumer rights champion.

Mr Lewis’ defamation claim centers around a number of fake ads for bitcoin schemes, which used his image to erroneously lend legitimacy. The social media giant has notably banned cryptocurrency-related ads from its platform, but scammers often circumvent the ban through clever marketing tricks.

The millionaire financial expert has stated that he intends to take his legal battle to the High Court following a lackluster response from Facebook to his takedown requests. He is said to represent a formidable foe for the social media giant, having the trust of the British public, a huge following, and the services of renowned media lawyer Mark Lewis behind him.

Mr Lewis, who has a total net worth of £125 million (roughly $168 million), has made it clear that he does not wish to profit from the case, stating that any damages will be donated to anti-scam charities.

Despite his fierce stance, however, it seems that the issue may yet be settled out of court, with Mr Lewis having described the meeting on Wednesday as “constructive.”

“They get the problem. They get they’ve been doing far too many scam ads. They get that they’re out of control.”

Martin Lewis

Explaining that his first and foremost ambition was to put a stop to such ads and “put right what has gone wrong”, he continued:

“I am hopeful. My biggest question is not their attitude – it’s whether they can actually deliver, whether they can actually stop the scams happening.”

Martin Lewis

Facebook certainly seems to be taking the issue seriously, with its chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, telling British lawmakers only last month that it was hoping to implement facial recognition and other developing technologies to weed out fake ads.

As covered, the social media titan is reportedly looking into launching its own cryptocurrency. Reports suggest the company is "very serious" about it, with former PayPal president and early bitcoin investor David Marcus leading a team exploring the issue.

Chinese Yuan 'Inversely Correlated' with Bitcoin, Amidst US-China Trade Wars

Since January 2018, China and the US have been involved in an intense trade war in which both countries have significantly increased tariffs on imported goods and services.

Due partly to the rising tension between the two countries, the Chinese yuan (CNY) has been losing value against the USD. During the same time period, the price of bitcoin (BTC) and other major cryptoassets has been surging.

As noted by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the value of BTC, the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency, increased by 26.5% to $7,878 during the time period from May 5 to May 17. Notably, US President Donald Trump had announced on May 5 that he would further increase tariffs on goods imported from mainland China.

Chinese Yuan Weakens as Nation’s Government Responds to Increased Tariffs

The SCMP pointed out that the yuan dropped to its lowest level since the past six months after the Chinese government responded to Trump administration’s decision to impose higher tariffs on China.

Commenting on the price fluctuations of both the yuan and bitcoin, Garrick Hileman, a Macroeconomics Researcher at London School of Economics (LSE) and Head of Research at Blockchain.com, remarked:

We are observing a strong inverse correlation between the [Renminbi] RMB’s value and bitcoin, meaning that recent RMB declines over trade tensions have been closely matched by increases in the value of bitcoin.

“Correlation Does Not Necessarily Equal Causation”

Hileman also mentioned that we “cannot be 100% certain” that the bitcoin price has been increasing due to heightened concerns regarding trade tensions and the corresponding decline in the value of the yuan. The blockchain researcher stated:

Trade tensions and declines in the RMB’s exchange rate as correlation does not necessarily equal causation.

Hileman, who earned his Phd from LSE, revealed:

This is not the first time we’ve seen significant increases in the value of bitcoin taking place alongside yuan concerns.

He added that there’s “growing recognition of bitcoin as ‘digital gold’ and it being used as a hedge against various macroeconomic risks.”

“This Year, the Narrative Is Bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin”

According to the SCMP, bitcoin’s price may have surged recently due to the generally positive remarks made about it at the Consensus 2019 conference.

Meltem Demirors, the Chief Strategy Officer at CoinShares, a crypto treasury management firm, has also confirmed recently that the narrative this year has been mostly about Bitcoin. Demirors revealed that both institutions and retail investors are “feeling good” and are “more confident” about the long-term potential of Bitcoin and the evolving ecosystem that supports it.