MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis is launching a High Court battle to “give Facebook a bloody nose” over claims the site is publishing scam adverts causing vulnerable people to hand over thousands of pounds to criminals.
Mr Lewis is due to lodge court papers today for a defamation lawsuit against Facebook over claims it has published more than 50 fake posts bearing his name in the past year, many of which are used to scam money out of people.
Mr Lewis said 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.
He said people have handed over thousands of pounds in good faith, only to find the advert has nothing to do with Mr Lewis or his company.
Any damages won through the lawsuit will be donated to charity, but Mr Lewis said the real aim was to force the social media behemoth to change its policy and reduce the risk of such scams being hosted by Facebook.
Mr Lewis said: “There are customers who have lost a lot of money. Some of them won’t even talk to me because they’ve seen my face on the advert and think it’s me who has scammed them – it’s an absolute disgrace.
“I’ve had enough of this. It’s affecting my reputation, but more importantly it is affecting real people who are handing over money in good faith while the scammers are raking in the cash. I won’t be making a penny out of this, by the way – I’ve had a team of people looking at this for months now and it is time to take a stand.”
He said the legal action was not designed to win the defamation case itself but to force the company to change its policy on advertising, for example reducing the risk of such scams by having inbuilt settings notifying well-known people every time their image was used in an advert, requiring their approval that the post was legitimate.
The television personality and journalist said: “I don’t do adverts. I’ve told Facebook that.
“Yet it simply continues to repeatedly publish these adverts and then relies on me to report them once the damage has been done.”