Meta Must Face Lawsuit Over Facebook Crypto Ads: US Judge
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Meta Must Face Lawsuit Over Facebook Crypto Ads: US Judge

A US judge rejected Meta Platform’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit by billionaire Australian mining tycoon Andrew Forrest over Facebook crypto ads.

The lawsuit revolves around a series of deceptive Facebook ads featuring Forrest endorsing fake crypto projects and other fraudulent investments. 

Forrest is now seeking legal recourse, holding Meta responsible for its role in enabling the dissemination of these fraudulent ads.

Meta’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit was unsuccessful. U.S. District Judge Casey Pitts ruled that Forrest has the right to attempt to prove Meta’s negligence. 

The judge’s decision was based on the argument that Meta allowed the ads to violate its duty to operate in a commercially reasonable manner.

“Dr. Forrest claims that Meta profited more from ads that included his likeness than it would have if the ads had not,” Pitts wrote. “This is enough to adequately plead that the alleged misappropriation was to Meta’s advantage.”

The Lawsuit

Forrest’s original lawsuit claims that more than 1,000 advertisements were spread on Facebook in Australia from April to November 2023, leading to significant financial losses for those affected, amounting to millions of dollars.

The ads, which falsely depicted Forrest endorsing crypto pump and dumps, were designed to look legitimate. They used tactics to bypass Facebook’s ad review systems. Forrest alleged that Meta’s software helped to create some of the scam ads with Generative AI.

“Beginning in 2019, Dr. Forrest learned that ads using his name and likeness to endorse cryptocurrency and other fraudulent investment products were appearing on Facebook. Some were accompanied by fake testimonials from investors who said they turned $250 into millions in a matter of months. Others included doctored “deepfake” videos of Dr. Forrest,” the court order read. 

The lawsuit claimed that Meta offers a range of tools for creating ads, which advertisers access from a separate platform. 

It also alleged that Meta provides tools to enhance the appearance of ads on their website and does not review ads before they are paid for.

Andrew Forrest is Australia’s second-richest person and is very active in the mining industry.

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