Martin Lewis to sue Facebook over fake ads bearing his name

Written by Oliver Wade
23/04/2018

MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis has said that at least 50 fake ads bearing his name have appeared on the social media platform, causing him reputational damage.

Many of the adverts on the social media platform show Martin Lewis’ face alongside endorsements that he has not actually made, and often include links to articles carrying false information.

Facebook has commented that misleading advertisements are not allowed and those reported are removed.

Lewis is due to lodge court papers at the High Court for a defamation case against Facebook on Monday to seek damages, but he has pledged that any money received will go to anti-scam charities.

Several of the adverts market schemes with titles such as Bitcoin code and Cloud Trader, which Lewis said are fronts for binary trading firms outside of the EU, a form of financial transaction that the FCA has warned consumers against.

Furthermore, the Advertising Standards Authority has previously upheld Lewis’ complaints against adverts, saying that the promotions made it falsely appear as if he had endorsed the advertised services.

When speaking to the BBC, Lewis made clear his belief that this is a widespread phenomenon on Facebook, where celebrity endorsements are frequently seen on adverts without them giving consent.

Facebook has denied the allegation and 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."

However, Lewis has said that the company’s response has been consistently ineffective, and that he is only taking legal action after repeated demands for more action to be taken.

There are two primary legal concerns; whether Facebook has legal responsibility for the content that appears on its banner either publisher or a platform and the legal jurisdiction in which Facebook operates.

Martin Lewis’ solicitor Mark Lewis said: “Facebook is not above the law - it cannot hide outside the UK and think that it is untouchable."

Lewis has also stated that the publicity around his case will alert many Facebook users to the fact that false adverts, such as those in which he has features, are rife on the social media network.

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