Meta Apologizes for Fake Ads with Billionaire Wissam Al Mana

Qatari billionaire Wissam Al Mana reportedly emerged victorious in a legal battle against Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta over the illegal use of his image in cryptocurrency fraud advertisements on Facebook.

According to the report released by the Financial Times (FT), Wissam Al Mana, a well-known businessman in the Middle East and the former husband of pop star Janet Jackson, alleges that these ads generated reputational damage, distress, and embarrassment.

According to the report, Meta apologized to Wissam Al Mana and committed to providing him with additional protection.

The report said the case, which has been ongoing for the past three years, was resolved in a Dublin court on Friday. Meta confessed that several inaccurate, deceptive, and slanderous advertisements featuring Al Mana’s image were posted on Facebook without his knowledge or permission in 2019.

The incident highlights the common practice of legitimate and fraudulent crypto ventures using social media platforms to attract customers with celebrity endorsements and promises of quick returns, per the report.

Further, it was mentioned in the report that Meta generally acts swiftly to remove fraudulent ads, but concerns remain about scammers seeing ways to bypass the platform’s checks. The identities of the individuals behind the fraudulent ads in Al Mana’s case were not known as they did not participate in the legal proceedings, which raised doubts about their identities.

Wissam Al Mana, who handles his family-owned group in Qatar and holds sole distribution rights for luxury brands, claimed that social networking site Facebook failed to execute effective steps to control further fraudulent ads from emerging after removing the initial set, the report said.

As per the report, this is not the first time Meta has faced legal challenges about fraudulent advertisements. In 2019, the Meta company settled a defamation claim in England by donating a 3-million-pound (i.e., $3.8 million) to an anti-scam charity and introducing new tools for users to report fake ads.

In that case, British private finance specialist Martin Lewis sued Facebook over online ads for crypto that reportedly used his likeness. Lewis said that more than 50 ads appeared on the social media platform with his likeness over a year, promoting frauds related to selling binary options—a “near-certain money-loser,” he said.

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