Meta Platforms, Inc, which was formerly Facebook is in troubled waters after Australia’s consumer protection commission declared that it had initiated criminal proceedings against the tech firm for “false, misleading or deceptive conduct” in violation of consumer or securities laws.
The Australian watchdog accused Meta of failing to do enough to prevent scam advertisements for cryptocurrency or money-making schemes, despite being alerted by celebrities who had been misrepresented by similar ads published on Facebook.
According to the commission, the ads carried pictures of well-known Australians, including former New South Wales premier Mike Baird and businessman Dick Smith. But the high-profile personalities featured in the ads had never approved or endorsed them, it said. Rod Sims. who served as chair of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission stated,
Meta failed to take sufficient steps to stop fake ads featuring public figures, even after those public figures reported to Meta that their name and image were being featured in celebrity endorsement cryptocurrency scam ads.
The consumer protection authority said it was seeking orders from the court including injunctions, penalties, and the payment of legal costs.
In its defense, Meta released a statement vowing to defend itself and asserted that it has taken steps to stop scam ads by using technology to detect and block them.
“We don’t want ads seeking to scam people out of money or mislead people on Facebook, they violate our policies and are not good for our community,” a representative reiterated. The social media giant said it had cooperated with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s investigation.
Meta’s ‘strict’ ads enforcement inadequate?
Meta’s advertising policies have provided guidance on how ads are reviewed on its platform. In it, the firm mentioned how it uses a combination of AI and human moderators to flag advertisements. Paul Bischoff, the editor of Comparitech, a site that rates security software and has monitored illegal Facebook ads has a completely different take.
According to him, the firm’s human moderation is “entirely inadequate,” and it’s unclear how many scams its AI flags before they reach users.“We don’t really know how big the problem is,” he said, “but there’s obviously still a lot of them getting through.”