John de Mol, Dutch billionaire and creator of the much-franchised reality show Big Brother, is to sue media giant Facebook for allowing fake ads on its platform to promote fraudulent Bitcoin-related businesses claiming that they had entrepreneur’s backing.

De Mol, whose image was also used in some of the advertising, claims that he was not alone in being targeted in this way with consumers being duped out of EUR 1.7 million (USD 1.9 million) from adds linked to him and further funds being extorted by using other Dutch celebrities in the same way.

An Amsterdam District Court Judge heard that Facebook had not reacted quickly enough to complaints about the advertising, having allowed them to go through the media giant’s vetting process.

Defending Facebook, lawyer Jens van den Brink argued that the company could not monitor advertising across all its platforms and did, in fact, respond quickly to requests to have the fraudulent advertising removed. Facebook according to their lawyer had also recently met with the Dutch financial markets regulator AFM to investigate means to address scammers gaining access to FB platforms.

“I don’t know what reality Facebook lives in, but that doesn’t work,” said de Mol’s Lawyer Jacqueline Schaap, claiming that its current vetting system wasn’t enough and that such advertising should simply be blocked.

“The people who push these kinds of ads are persistent, they are well-funded and they are constantly evolving their deceptive tactics to get around our systems,” responded Rob Leathern, a manager at California-based Facebook.

 

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