Legal action halted after Facebook agrees to introduce scam ads reporting button, and makes financial donation
The founder of MoneySavingExpert and well known money saving expert Martin Lewis has dropped its High Court lawsuit against Facebook.
Lewis had sued Facebook in April 2018 and he said he took the decision “to try and stop all the disgusting repeated fake adverts from scammers it (Facebook) refuses to stop publishing with my picture, name and reputation.”
Lewis said he had been fighting with Facebook for over a year before he began the lawsuit to get them to stop publishing adverts for scams, that utilise his name and picture. One lady reportedly lost £100,000 to the scam adverts.
The money saving expert had claimed the fake endorsements had caused him reputational damage.
But now he said in a blog post that he has agreed to drop the case after Facebook agreed to introduce a scam ads reporting button.
Facebook will also donate £3m to a new Citizens Advice project to be launched in May, aimed at tackling scam adverts.
“Online scam adverts, which often use fake celebrity endorsements to get people to part with their cash, have become widespread across the internet in recent years, and Facebook admitted in May last year admitted that there were 1,000s of these ads featuring Martin on its site,” the statement said.
“It shouldn’t have taken the threat of legal action to get here,” Lewis said of the settlement. “Yet once we started talking, Facebook quickly realised the scale of the problem, its impact on real people, and agreed to commit to making a difference both on its own platform and across the wider sector.”
“The amount being donated to set up the Citizens Advice scams action project is far above anything I could’ve won had I succeeded in a court,” said Lewis. “In fact, we believe the amount Facebook is donating is substantially bigger than the biggest-ever UK court settlement for defamation. That shows Facebook’s determination to change things.”
“The aim of my campaigning lawsuit was always to stop scam ads, and to help those who have fallen victim to them,” he added. “What we’re announcing today does that at a far bigger scale than I could’ve hoped for.”
“And especially after recent weeks, when another plague of this horrible adverts has been right across the internet,” he added. “I’d call on the other major players, both social media and advertising platforms, including Google, to follow Facebook’s lead, accept things must change and put their hands in their pockets to help Citizens Advice scams action too.”
This is not the first time that Facebook has tried to crack down on hoaxes.
In 2015 for example Facebook had to tweak its systems to crack down on hoaxes and spam such as “click here for a lifetime of free coffee”, when they began popping up in user newsfeeds.