According to a report by the Financial Times, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) has publicly apologized to Qatari billionaire Wissam al Mana and pledged to provide additional safeguards after his image was exploited in crypto scam advertisements on the platform.
The prominent businessman, also known as the former husband of pop star Janet Jackson, took legal action against Meta in Dublin, Ireland, over the past three years, alleging significant reputational damage, distress, and embarrassment caused by the fraudulent ads.
Meta Admits Publishing False And Defamatory Crypto Ads
During a court hearing in Dublin on Friday, Meta admitted that “false, misleading, and defamatory advertisements” featuring Wissam al Mana’s image were published on Facebook without his knowledge or consent. The social media giant expressed remorse for the harm caused and issued a sincere and unreserved apology to Mr. Al Mana.
Per the report, high-profile figures, including politicians, have also initiated legal proceedings in Ireland against social media companies, highlighting the use of their names and images to promote cryptocurrency scams.
Notably, Meta settled a defamation claim brought by Martin Lewis in England by making a substantial donation to an anti-scam charity and introducing new tools for users to report fake advertisements.
Although Meta reviews and approves adverts before they appear on Facebook, industry experts argue that scammers can employ false identities to circumvent these checks. The individuals responsible for the fraudulent advertisements featuring Wissam al Mana have remained unresponsive and uninvolved in the case, casting doubt on their legitimacy.
Meta Commits To Robust Measures Against Deceptive Ads
In response to the litigation, Meta has committed to implementing “robust measures” to combat such deceptive advertisements in the future. The terms of the settlement reached between the parties have been kept confidential, and Irish law firm Ronan Daly Jermyn represented Wissam al Mana in the Dublin proceedings.
Wissam al Mana, a well-known businessman in the Gulf region, plays a significant role in managing his family-owned group in Qatar and holds exclusive distribution rights for multiple luxury brands, including Harvey Nichols, Alexander McQueen, and Hermès.
Having commenced proceedings against Meta in Dublin in February 2020, Wissam al Mana’s case was resolved in court on Friday. Notably, the Financial Times highlights that Irish defamation laws are perceived as more favorable than those in the United States.
Allegations presented by Wissam al Mana’s legal team contend that while Facebook initially removed the initial set of fraudulent ads, the platform failed to implement effective measures to prevent their recurrence. Subsequently, additional fake advertisements emerged in 2019, prompting Meta to remove them once again.
As a result of this case, Meta faces the imperative to enhance its protocols and preventive measures to effectively combat fraudulent advertisements and protect the integrity of its platform.
The outcome of this settlement signifies a step towards greater accountability in tackling crypto scam ads and safeguarding the reputation of individuals targeted by such deceptive practices.
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