Martin Lewis sues Facebook over 'fake' ads

By Sara Shayanian  |  April 23, 2018 at 2:00 PM
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April 23 (UPI) -- Consumer adviser Martin Lewis is suing Facebook for defamation -- claiming that at least 50 fake ads with his name have appeared on the site.

Lewis argues the social media giant failed to prevent or remove false advertising from Facebook and is seeking exemplary damages in the British High Court.

As many as 50 advertisements showing the MoneySavingExpert.com founder's face and name were used alongside endorsements, often linking to articles with fake information.

Lewis says he is suing to put Facebook "on notice," claiming that although the lawsuit was mainly a "publicity stunt," he hoped it would spread awareness of social media advertising scams.

"I have made this clear to Facebook -- any ad with me in it is fake," Lewis told BBC News. "This isn't a post in a forum, they are being paid and these adverts are pushed out to millions of people."

Lewis said he would receive multiple messages a day from Facebook users who saw him representing false advertisements and fell for "get rich quick" schemes.

"What is particularly pernicious about Facebook is that it says the onus is on me, so I have spent time and effort and stress repeatedly to have them taken down," Lewis said.

Lewis said any money he receives from the suit will be given to anti-scam charities.

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

Facebook has denied allowing false advertisements to spread on the site, saying it does not allow for "misleading or false" advertisements. The social media site said it's in direct contact with Lewis to help take down the fake information.

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