Facebook must come up with satisfactory proposals about how it will tackle the problem of fake adverts on its site, MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis said today.
Lewis has launched a defamation action against the social network, claiming that it has published more than 50 fake posts bearing his name – many of which are used to scam money out of people – in the past year, and that the false advertising was damaging his reputation.
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Today, Lewis emerged from Facebook’s headquarters in Brock Street, central London, after more than an hour of talks at a meeting which he described as a “good and constructive opening dialogue”.
But it was now for Facebook, having heard him out, to come back with satisfactory proposals on tackling the problem of fake advertisements on its site, he said.
“The question now will be: ‘Can it deliver on what it wants and will it deliver in such a substantial way that means I no longer have to continue with the lawsuit? The ball is in their court.”
He said “various solutions” were discussed, but he could not divulge specifics because it was a legal meeting.
Before the meeting, he called on Facebook to take responsibility for publishing thousands of scam advertisements he said had led to vulnerable people being ripped off, and described the social media giant as “an international institution that is out of control”.
The consumer champion said he would not be charmed into pulling back on his campaign against fake ads, adding that any money he was awarded in a legal fight would be donated to anti-scam charities.
Before the “without prejudice” meeting, which he said would be with the vice president of Facebook Europe, he told of his determination to hold the social networking organisation to account.
“What I want to happen is Facebook takes responsibility for the thousands of scam ads it’s published about me and the many thousand more scam ads it’s published about other people which have hurt vulnerable people, lost them money, seen them being ripped off and that company there [Facebook] is responsible. It has been paid to publish these adverts,” Lewis said.
Facebook should put “proper procedures in place so that these scam adverts are never published” rather than placing the onus on people to report the fake ads, he said.
Lewis also called for Individuals who had lost money to be compensated.
“We are not here to be cuddled up to and charmed. We are here to see real change happening,” he said.
“Facebook is an international institution that is out of control. It’s not a bad product, it helps many people. They need to regain control and if they do I want to help it to thrive because it does a good thing. I want to make Facebook better, not worse.”
Lewis previously said his decision to sue Facebook at the High Court for defamation was the result of months of frustration with scammers piggybacking on his reputation and preying on Facebook.
People had handed over thousands of pounds in good faith, only to find the adverts were nothing to do with him.
“There are customers who have lost a lot of money. Some of them won’t even talk to me because they’ve seen my face on the advert and think it’s me who has scammed them – it’s an absolute disgrace,” Lewis added.
Picture: Ian West/PA Wire