Martin Lewis is a well-known figure who runs MoneySavingExpert.com, the Money & Mental Health Policy Institute charity, and presents on ITV’s The Martin Lewis Money Show. He is now suing Facebook because of fake ads that have been using his name and image in advertisements that lead to scam sites, binary options trading sites, and many others.
In his post about his filing a lawsuit against Facebook, Lewis says, “I don’t do adverts. I’ve told Facebook that. Any ad with my picture or name in it is without my permission. I’ve asked it not to publish them, or at last check their legitimacy with me before publishing. This shouldn’t be difficult – after all, it’s a leader in face and text recognition. Yet it simply continues to repeatedly publish these adverts and then relies on me to report them, once the damage has been done.”
It seems that Lewis is more concerned about his potential fans getting ripped off by these ads than making any money on the lawsuit itself. He has stated that any money that he wins in this case will be donated to anti-scam charities.
He went on to say, “Even when they are reported, many have been left up for days or weeks. And finally, when they are taken down the scammers just launch a new, nearly identical campaign very soon afterwards and the whole rigmarole starts again.”
While it is understandable that Facebook gets millions of ad campaigns and they can’t manually review every one of them, Lewis does make a strong point. If they are regularly using his name or image, it should be very simple for the social network to flag them automatically and have them denied. The fact that Facebook makes money on these ads gives them a clear motive for failing to block the ads, or doing it slowly.
Facebook did release a response, saying, “We do not allow adverts which are misleading or false on Facebook and have explained to Martin Lewis that he should report any adverts that infringe his rights and they will be removed.”