I don’t how your timeline on Facebook looks, but I try to keep mine entertaining as hell with the occasional satire, boring local news stories, and family members sharing pictures of their lunch. But apparently, the social media behemoth, unlike their claims to this time *really really pinky swear* counter fake celebrity and bitcoin scams, has not been successful at blocking these annoying ads.
Again yesterday, a bearded Mel Gibson was trying to trick me into an elaborate bitcoin investment scheme. Tempting as it may seem, it is of course very much faker than fake. Or was that not easy to spot? Would anyone ever buy anything recommended by known nutter Gibson? I certainly hope not.
The way these ads work, is actually quite ingenius in their own respect. A celebrity is pictured on Facebook with a clickbait title that appears to lead to a reputable news site (in my case, our national broadcaster NOS.nl). Or, some celebrity shares his insights how he makes more money and lives happily ever after. Then, you won’t believe what happened! The recent investment of said celebrity scares banks, “they” don’t want you to know, but you can of course, be a beneficiary, too! For the riches!
In the Netherlands, where I live, multi-billionaire media tycoon John de Mol (Big Brother, Voice of) has already attempted to sue Facebook over these scam ads depicting him. Last we heard, a Dutch judge urged both parties to settle it among them, and after that De Mol postponed a further court case because holiday season. Ali B, a moderately skilful but locally successful rapper and tv personality, has even issued a warning on Instagram to his following.
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Here’s Ali B appearing on my favorite football website VI.nl.
Fake celebrity profile ads @AliBouali via Google Ads now appear on @VI_nl. When will this be stopped? Tech co’s need to take full responsibility. This is getting out of hand. pic.twitter.com/5F82oS9N5o
— Remco Janssen (@remcojanssen) August 21, 2019
Fraudehelpdesk (no translation needed I presume) reported total damages in the Netherlands alone of €1.7 million. That was over four months ago. Since then, I’ve come across multiple bitcoin scam ads on Facebook (and Google Ads), nearly every week.
I still don’t get it. Facebook and Google are clearly not equiped to counter these practices. When will a national or European advertising watchdog give them at least a slap on the wrist? I feel that that’s long overdue.
Who’s your local celebrity who fell victim to bitcoin scams on Facebook? Let us know in the replies.
Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news.