Martin Lewis, a British personal finance guru, is suing Facebook for allowing scammers, including some promoting cryptocurrency schemes, to use his likeness in advertisements on the platform.
Lewis is the founder of the MoneySavingExpert blog, and his name and face well known following his years of writing and many TV appearances. In a post to his blog Monday, Lewis explained that he is initiating high court proceedings against Facebook over the issue in a personal capacity, not through MoneySavingExpert. Any damages the court might award him would be donated to anti-scam charities, the post adds.
According to Lewis, over 50 fake ads using his likeness have been published on Facebook within the past year. He names two scams in particular, Bitcoin Code and Cloud Trader – both of which promised outsized profits from trading binary options, a risky asset class that Lewis calls a "near-certain money-loser."
The Facebook ads in some cases link to fake news articles designed to resemble U.K. news sources The Mirror and the BBC.
"Enough is enough," Lewis writes. "I've been fighting for over a year to stop Facebook letting scammers use my name and face to rip off vulnerable people – yet it continues."
Facebook announced that it would ban ads for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in January.
Reached for comment Monday, a Facebook spokesperson told CoinDesk:
Lewis acknowledges that Facebook has removed some of the ads, but says it has taken "days or weeks" in some cases, and that the scammers respond by re-posting ads that are all-but identical.
Facebook image via Shutterstock.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.