A billionaire from Australia has filed a criminal complaint against Facebook, claiming that the platform failed to block fraudulent adverts using his image.

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Andrew Forrest claims that the rise of cryptocurrency scams on Facebook violated Australian anti-money laundering regulations.

He said that this was the first time Facebook has been charged with a crime anywhere in the world.

Dr. Forrest’s issue was not addressed by Facebook’s owner, Meta, who stated that the company was “committed to keeping those folks [scammers] off our platform.”

Dr. Forrest, the head of miner Fortescue Metals, accused Facebook of being “criminally reckless” in failing to do more to stop the advertising, which began in early 2019.

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Scammers exploit his image, as well as the images of other celebrities, to market phony investments that promise huge returns. Although Facebook bans such ads, many still appear on the platform.

In November 2019, Dr. Forrest wrote an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, imploring him to take more action.

“I’m concerned about innocent Australians being scammed through clickbait advertising on social media,” the Australian Billionaire said in a statement on Thursday.

“I’m acting here for Australians, but this is happening all over the world.”

The case will be heard in the Western Australian Magistrates Court on March 28. If it succeeds, Facebook may be fined or forced to adjust its advertising strategy.

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In addition, Dr. Forrest has filed a legal complaint in the state of California, where Facebook is based.

According to The Australian newspaper, he claims that Facebook “knowingly profits from this cycle of illegal ads” in his case.

According to court filings, one victim in Australia lost $670,000 (£495,000; A$940,000) as a result of a bogus endorsement starring Dr. Forrest.

Scam adverts, the social media business claimed in a statement to the media, were against its regulations.

“We take a multifaceted approach to stop these ads, we work not just to detect and reject the ads themselves but also block advertisers from our services and, in some cases, take court action to enforce our policies,” a Meta representative said.


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