John de Mol, a Dutch billionaire and media magnate, has recently sued Facebook over fraudulent bitcoin ads that showed him next to quotes about how much money he purportedly made investing in BTC with a company that was swindling users.
According to Reuters, De Mol’s lawyer has claimed the businessman, who created the reality show ‘Big Brother’ and is one of brains behind the Endemol entertainment studio, is suing the social media giant over damages to his client’s reputation, and over Facebook’s inability to stop the ads from appearing altogether.
De Mol’s lawyers would, as such, like to see Facebook automatically block ads featuring him and cryptocurrencies. The businessman’s lawyer further claimed consumers sent a total of €1.7 million (around $1.9 million) to the scammers, before Facebook reacted to complaints and removed the ads from its platform.
De Mol is also looking to get the names of those behind the fraudulent bitcoin ads, so he can hand them over to authorities. Jacqueline Schapp, one of his lawyers, argued that Facebook’s system of reacting to users reporting problems isn’t good enough.
I don’t know what reality Facebook lives in, but that doesn’t work.
Facebook’s lawyer, Jens van den Brink, revealed the company couldn’t be forced to monitor every ad that goes through it all the time, and that it’s “technically impossible” to block ads with De Mol’s name on it, as other people have the same name.
Van den Brink also added Facebook has met with Dutch financial market regulator AFM this month to discuss ways to combat scammers on its platform. It’s worth noting that Facebook banned cryptocurrency-related ads last year to stop them, but later on lifted the ban.
A judge at the Amsterdam District Court gave both parties two weeks to come up with a reasonable solution. If they fail to reach an agreement, the judge noted he would rule on the case.
This isn’t the first time celebrities are used to get users to buy into fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes through Facebook’s ads.