Why a personal finance expert is suing Facebook

Andrew Cummings
April 24, 2018

Martin Lewis, a consumer advice personality has sued Facebook for defamation over supposedly fake ads featuring him repeatedly.

However, Facebook which has denied Lewis's assertion, said that these types of false endorsements on adverts are widespread.

Lewis said his was not the only public face this has happened to, and that it is time Facebook was made to take responsibility.

Lewis told the Press Association the legal action was the result of months of frustration with scammers piggybacking on his reputation and preying on Facebook users with outlandish get-rich-quick scams.

Lewis said he is bringing the defamation case in a personal capacity; it's not being brought by MoneySavingExpert. Any damages will be will be donated to anti-scam charities, he said.

Several of the advertss are fronts for binary trading firms based outside the European Union.

He said Advertising Standards Authority rulings against the advertisers had little effect. It's spent months explaining to users and lawmakers how a group of alleged Russian trolls were able to post ads and create Facebook groups to promote a campaign of misinformation and division leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. These adverts are in a lacuna of regulation. "This shouldn't be hard", Lewis said in a blog on his website. One of the most notable examples includes a lady who had over £100,000 taken from her. "If that is the number who get through to me, how many more must be just taken in?"

The claims come at a time when Facebook is answering questions over how it stops abuse of its platforms.

"It is consistent, it is repeated".

He has thrown his weight behind campaigns such as financial education in schools, reclaiming bank charges and helped people who were mis-sold PPI reclaim their cash with free step-by-step guidance, highlighting that households do not need to use claims management companies which take a chunk of any payout.

He said the legal action was not created to win the defamation case itself, but to force the company to change its policy on advertising. He added: "If Mark Zuckerburg wants to be the champion of moral causes, then he needs to stop his company from doing this".

A spokesperson for Facebook told Express.co.uk "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".

Solicitor Mark Lewis from law firm Seddons is leading the case. "It can not hide outside the United Kingdom and think it is untouchable".

"Exemplary damages are being sought". I've asked it not to publish them, or at least to check their legitimacy with me before publishing.

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