Facebook is in hot water once again after an Australian billionaire launched legal proceedings against parent company Meta.
Iron ore magnate Andrew Forrest today confirmed the launch of criminal proceedings against Meta in an Australian court, alleging that it breached anti-money laundering laws and let its platform be used to scam Australians. The Fortescue metals chairman said he is taking action to protect people from being duped by scam ads, such as ones using his image to promote crypto assets.
“This action is being taken on behalf of those everyday Australians – Mums and Dads, Grans and Grandads – who work all their lives to gather their savings and to ensure those savings aren’t swindled away by scammers,” said Forrest in a statement.
The lawsuit alleges Facebook “failed to create controls or a corporate culture to prevent its systems being used to commit crime.”
In a statement e-mailed to Reuters Facebook said it takes a “multifaceted approach” to block harmful ads and scammers, saying the company is “committed to keeping these people off our platform.”
The lawsuit comes amid calls for UK legislators to toughen up rules for tech giants that fail to crackdown on fraudulent adverts online.
The Online Safety Bill has been criticised for giving Ofcom powers to request the removal of scam ads from online platforms without putting the onus on web service providers to identify and eradicate false adverts.
Around £2.3bn was lost by UK consumers last year through online scams, with a large chunk of this coming through social media, according to Which?
Crypto scam ads in particular have been identified as a “red alert priority” by the Advertising Standards Agency, with the UK’s financial regulator given powers to crack down on promotions for digital assets.
If Facebook is found guilty in its Australian court battle, it will reportedly face a maximum penalty of A$126,000 (£66,000) on each of three charges.