John De Mol, a Dutch billionaire and media tycoon, has sued the social media giant, Facebook, for allowing cryptocurrency advertisements which feature his face without his permission. According to the suit, consumers who bought into the ad, believing that it was backed by De Mol, have lost over €1.7 million. His reputation has also suffered greatly as a result.
This is the latest in a series of fake and deceptive crypto-related ads appearing on the social media giant which used popular celebrities and politicians without permission. Facebook has been sued by the victims on several occasions, and whilst steps have been taken to tackle the problem, it clearly continues to persist.
John De Mol is a well-known media mogul who is associated with several top TV shows, including Deal or No Deal, The Voice, and Big Brother. He came across his personal image being used in deceptive ads towards the end of 2018. At the time, De Mol was quick to issue a public statement declaring these ads as fraudulent and illegal.
In the advertisements which De Mol is suing Facebook over, victims were tricked to send money and buy into a business called Bitcoin Profit. This company was, supposedly, backed by De Mol, which encouraged many users to transfer and eventually lose their money.
Such deceitful advertising is a reality which many newcomers to the crypto industry can easily fall victim to. Facebook and De Mol’s legal team have alerted crypto users to only trust reputable crypto service providers.
This is particularly important when selecting a cryptocurrency exchange. Whilst some are highly secure, reputable, and trustworthy, such as Binance and Coinbase, others like Coinroom suddenly disappear without a trace, leaving users coinless.
Such deceitful advertising is a reality which many newcomers to the crypto industry can easily fall victim to. Facebook and De Mol’s legal team have alerted crypto users to only trust reputable crypto service providers. This is particularly important when selecting a cryptocurrency exchange. Whilst some are highly secure, reputable, and trustworthy, such as Binance and Coinbase, others like Coinroom suddenly disappear without a trace, leaving users coinless.
Whilst it is estimated that the losses caused by this fraudulent advertisement cost victims around €1.7 million, Fraudedesk, a website alerting users of scams and other dangers, has said that the figure could be as much as 10 times as high. Many victims are often reluctant to report such losses, especially since recovering such funds is next to impossible.
According to a lawyer in the tycoon’s legal team, Facebook is especially responsible for these losses. The lawyer claims that the social media giant’s vetting and selection process is clearly not up to the task.
In January 2018, Facebook blocked all types of cryptocurrency-related ads on its site, the tech giant to do so. By June 2018 this ban was relaxed to allow ads coming from approved providers. Ads on certain topics, such as ICOs, remained blocked.
The company’s Dutch lawyer, Jens van den Brink replied that the company could not be expected or forced to monitor every single ad on its platform at all times. Doing this would require an unrealistic amount of resources and human oversight. Van den Brink has confirmed, however, that the company is investing in AI to improve the situation and that the ads reported by John De Mol’s legal team were removed.
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