'Enough Is Enough': Finance Guru Sues Facebook Over Crypto Scams

Martin Lewis, a British personal finance writer, is suing Facebook for allowing his likeness to be used in scammers' advertisements on the platform.

AccessTimeIconApr 24, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:52 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

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."

He states:

"It's time Facebook was made to take responsibility. It claims to be a platform not a publisher – yet this isn't just a post on a web forum, it is being paid to publish, promulgate and promote what are often fraudulent enterprises. My hope is this lawsuit will force it to change its system."

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:

"We do not allow adverts which are misleading or false on Facebook and have explained to Martin Lewis that he should report any adverts that infringe his rights and they will be removed. We are in direct contact with his team, offering to help and promptly investigating their requests, and only last week confirmed that several adverts and accounts that violated our Advertising Policies had been taken down."

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.

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, 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.