A Dutch court has ruled that Facebook must remove Bitcoin (BTC)-related fraudulent investment ads following local billionaire and television producer John de Mol’s lawsuit against the company, Reuters reported on Nov. 11.
De Mol initiated judicial proceedings against the social media giant in June 2019, claiming that Facebook failed to respond to multiple requests to remove ads of a scam that misused his and other celebrities’ images and eventually resulted in the loss of 1.7 million euros ($1.8 million) by investors.
The ruling, fine and Facebook’s stance
Following de Mol’s claim, a Dutch court ruled that Facebook must pull the ads and provide all available information about the individuals who stood behind the scam ads. Otherwise, the social media giant could be fined up to 1.1 million euros ($1.2 million). The court said:
“Facebook’s arguments that it is just a neutral funnel for information, and therefore cannot be obligated to act, is not acceptable. The company plays too active a role with respect to advertisements, which form its primary business model, to argue that.”
In the court, Facebook ostensibly stated that it had already removed the ads and was considering “all legal actions including an appeal.” Facebook said:
“Importantly, this ruling does not change our commitment to fighting these types of ads. We cannot stress enough that these types of ads have absolutely no place on Facebook, and we remove them when we find them.”
Not the first time
This was not the first time De Mol had brought up Facebook crypto ads that capitalized on his image. He first encountered the problem in October 2018. At the time, Jacqueline Schaap, a lawyer from De Mol’s legal team, told Cointelegraph via email:
“John de Mol noticed the ads for the first time in October 2018, we do not know whether these were the first adds to appear. We just have not noticed them before, but that does not mean that they have not been published.”
Facebook has also been sued in April 2018 by Martin Lewis, a British journalist and TV presenter. Lewis accused the company of defamation related to deceptive cryptocurrency ads.
The social media platform banned cryptocurrency-related ads in early 2018. However, the company reversed its stance a few months later by updating its policies to once again allow cryptocurrency ads on the platform, a year before releasing its Libra whitepaper.