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Posted on April 23, 2018 by staff

Martin Lewis to sue Facebook over fake ads

The founder of MoneySavingExpert has announced his intention to sue Facebook for defamation over fake advertisements using his identity.

Martin  Lewis said in a blog post that last year Facebook had published at least 50 fake adverts with his likeness.

The ads in question, from ‘get rich quick’ schemes with names like Bitcoin Code and Cloud Trader, used photos of the celebrity expert with the false suggestion that he has backed them.

Lewis says Facebook failed to prevent or swiftly remove false advertising, tarnishing his reputation while luring unwitting victims into scams.

“I don’t do adverts. I’ve told Facebook that. Any ad with my picture or name in is without my permission,” he said.

“I’ve asked [Facebook] not to publish them, or at least to check their legitimacy with me before publishing. This shouldn’t be difficult – after all, it’s a leader in face and text recognition.

“Yet it simply continues to repeatedly publish these adverts and then relies on me to report them, once the damage has been done.

“It is facilitating scams on a constant basis in a morally repugnant way. If Mark Zuckerberg wants to be the champion of moral causes, then he needs to stop its company doing this.”

Facebook said: “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 is also founder of the Money & Mental Health Policy Institute charity, which provides support for people in problem debt who are suffering from mental health issues.

“On a personal note, as well as the huge amount of time, stress and effort it takes to continually combat these scams, this whole episode has been extremely depressing – to see my reputation besmirched by such a big company, out of an unending greed to keep raking in its ad cash.”

In response to the news of his lawsuit, Lewis tweeted at Sky News and the Guardian, saying he had seen similar ads on the pages of both news websites.